Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Link between vitamin C and twins can increase seed production in crops

19.06.2012
Discovery can assist farming of low-fertility crops, say UC Riverside biochemists

Biochemists at the University of California, Riverside report a new role for vitamin C in plants: promoting the production of twins and even triplets in plant seeds.


A boost of vitamin C results in the production of twin seedlings of tobacco. Credit: Gallie Lab, UC Riverside

Daniel R. Gallie, a professor of biochemistry, and Zhong Chen, an associate research biochemist in the Department of Biochemistry, found that increasing the level of dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), a naturally occurring enzyme that recycles vitamin C in plants and animals, increases the level of the vitamin and results in the production of twin and triplet seedlings in a single seed.

The value of the discovery lies in the potential to produce genetically identical seedlings and increase production of high-value crops.

"The ability to increase fertility can be extremely useful when the inherent rate of fertility is low or the value of the crop is great, such as corn in which the production of multiple embryos would significantly boost its protein content," Gallie said. "The extra seedlings per seed may also enhance per-seed survival chances for some species."

Study results appear in the online international journal PLoS ONE.

Just as in humans, twins in plants can be either genetically identical or fraternal. Gallie and Chen discovered that the twins and triplets produced in tobacco plants when vitamin C was increased were true twins or triplets as they were genetically identical.

In the lab, the researchers went on to show that injecting plant ovaries with vitamin C was sufficient to produce twins or triplets and that the vitamin causes the zygote, the fertilized egg, to divide into two or even three fertilized egg cells before these cells proceed through subsequent stages of development to produce twins or triplets.

Although they used tobacco in their research, Gallie predicts vitamin C could generate twins and triplets in other plants as well.

"Because the early stages of embryo development are so conserved among plant species, we expect that vitamin C will have a similar effect in almost any plant," he said.

A question raised by the study is whether vitamin C might have a similar effect in humans. In contrast to most animals, humans cannot make vitamin C and it must, therefore, be obtained regularly from dietary sources.

"Although the development of plant and animal embryos differ in many respects, the manner in which the genetically identical twins were produced in our study is similar to that for identical human twins in that it is the very first division of the fertilized egg into two separate cells that produces the two separate embryos, resulting in two seedlings in plants or two fetuses in humans," Gallie said. "Despite the differences in the subsequent development of embryos in plants and humans, the critical effect of vitamin C is on this very first cell division."

To Gallie's knowledge, no study linking vitamin C to twins in humans has been carried out to date.

"Humans are mutants in that we lack the last enzyme in the pathway needed to produce vitamin C," he said.

Vitamin C is well known to prevent scurvy, a disease affecting collagen synthesis, iron utilization, and immune cell development. It also improves cardiovascular and immune cell function and is used to regenerate vitamin E. The vitamin is present at high levels in some fruits such as citrus and some green leafy vegetables, but present in low levels in those crops most important to humans such as grains.

Vitamin C is as essential for plant health as it is for humans. It serves as an important antioxidant, destroying reactive oxygen species that can otherwise damage or even kill cells. In plants, vitamin C is important for photosynthetic function, in controlling water usage, in providing protection against pollutants such as ozone, and promoting growth.

A grant from the University of California Agricultural Experiment Station supported the study.

Previously, Gallie and Chen, who helped develop technology to increase vitamin C in plants, showed that a boost of the vitamin can help plants defend themselves against the ravages of ozone — smog's particularly nasty component. They also showed that reducing DHAR increases a plant's responsiveness to drought conditions.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 20,500 students. The campus will open a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Iqbal Pittalwala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A cavity leads to a strong interaction between light and matter

Researchers have succeeded in creating an efficient quantum-mechanical light-matter interface using a microscopic cavity. Within this cavity, a single photon is emitted and absorbed up to 10 times by an artificial atom. This opens up new prospects for quantum technology, report physicists at the University of Basel and Ruhr-University Bochum in the journal Nature.

Quantum physics describes photons as light particles. Achieving an interaction between a single photon and a single atom is a huge challenge due to the tiny...

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Kirigami inspires new method for wearable sensors

22.10.2019 | Materials Sciences

3D printing, bioinks create implantable blood vessels

22.10.2019 | Medical Engineering

Ionic channels in carbon electrodes for efficient electrochemical energy storage

22.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>