More than 40 years have passed since Woodstock, but psychedelics still have people seeing colors — this time, in maize, and the significance is no hallucination. That's because scientists from Pennsylvania State University have identified new genes in maize which promote carbohydrate export from leaves.
These genes are called psychedelic because of the yellow and green streaks they cause in the plant's leaves. Manipulating these genes may increase crop yields and the amount of biofuel that can be derived from each plant. This research discovery was published in the May 2010 issue of Genetics (http://www.genetics.org).
"This study shows that there is still a lot to learn about genes that control carbohydrate distribution in plants," said David Braun, Ph.D, a researcher involved in the work conducted at Penn State's Department of Biology. "By learning how these genes work, I hope we'll be able to improve plant growth and crop yield to solve some of the serious challenges concerning sustainable food and fuel production."
The movement of carbohydrates from leaves to roots, stems, flowers, and seeds is fundamental to plant growth and crop yields. Although the process has been studied for many years, relatively little is known about the genes that control it. This research shows that two previously unknown genes function together to help move carbon from leaves to other parts of the plant, ultimately resulting in the allocation of carbohydrates that are essential for growth. To make this discovery, scientists examined maize with yellow- and green-streaked leaves, a sign of mutation in genes responsible for the transport of carbohydrates within the plant. Once they identified the specific genes responsible for this coloring, they determined exactly which biological pathway they affected. Not only did the scientists find two new genes that work together in this process, but they also discovered that these genes affected a pathway different from anything previously known. This finding raises hope that by manipulating this pathway, corn or other crops could yield more grain for food or feed, more biomass for fuel, or plants better able to withstand environmental stresses, such as drought. This research was funded by the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
"Woodstock was a trip," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics, "but the potential of this and similar research is a journey. Increasing corn yields will impact multiple generations. It would allow farmers to produce more food, feed, and fuel from the same amount of land, and as the human population increases, society will need to get the most out of each plant as possible. This work promises to contribute to a continuation of the Green Revolution."
Since 1916, Genetics (http://www.genetics.org) has covered high quality, original research on a range of topics bearing on inheritance, including population and evolutionary genetics, complex traits, developmental and behavioral genetics, cellular genetics, gene expression, genome integrity and transmission, and genome and systems biology. Genetics, the peer-reviewed, peer-edited journal of the Genetics Society of America is one of the world's most-cited journals in genetics and heredity.
Tracey DePellegrin Connelly | EurekAlert!
Cells communicate in a dynamic code
19.02.2018 | California Institute of Technology
Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells
19.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences