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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Investigate Effect of Rice Sucrose Transporters on Potato Starch Yield

July 29, 2011

Assimilate partitioning in plants pertain to the organized distribution of sugars and amino acids from source tissue to import-dependent tissues and organs called sinks. It is an important factor affecting whole plant productivity and crop yields. Sucrose represents the major transport form of photosynthetic assimilate carbohydrates in many plants, thus sucrose transporters play a major role in assimilate partitioning.

Aijun Sun of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues conducted a study to investigate if sucrose transporters affect the yield of starch plant by using transgenic potato plants (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Désirée) with complementary DNAs of the rice sucrose transporter genes OsSUT5Z and OsSUT2M under the control of a tuber-specific, class-I patatin promoter.

Results showed that the average fructose content of OsSUT5Z transgenic tubers significantly increased compared with the controls. On the other hand, the sugar and starch content of OsSUT2M transgenic potato tubers showed no significant difference. The average tuber yield, average number of tubers per plant, and average weight of a tuber also showed no significant difference in OsSUT2M transgenic tubers compared to the controls. The average tuber yield of OsSUT5Z transgenic potato tubers was almost two times higher than the controls, and the average number of tubers per plants increased by more than ten tubers, but the average weight of each tuber did not change significantly. Thus, OsSUT5Z is a potential gene for breeding high yielding starch crops.

The open access article is available at