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Crop Biotech Update

MxIRT1 Overexpression Increases Iron and Zinc in Rice

August 13, 2014

Iron and zinc are essential minerals not just for plants but also in human nutrition. Iron deficiency could lead to death, which has been evident in developing countries with high rice consumption. Thus, Song Tan of the Capital Normal University in Beijing, China, and a team of scientists aimed to develop rice enriched with iron and zinc. They overexpressed MxIRT1, a ferrous transporter from iron-efficient apple tree (Malus xiaojifactnensis), in rice.

Result showed successful expression of MxIRT1 in transgenic rice. Iron and zinc concentration increased by up to 3 times the normal amount in non-transgenic rice. Further tests indicated that iron was actively transported within the plant compared to cadmium given that iron is readily available in the surroundings. The results indicate that MxIRT1 is a good candidate gene for biofortification of rice with iron and zinc.

Read the research article at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11248-014-9822-z.