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Crop Biotech Update

Gene Associated with Morphine Production in Poppy Plant Discovered

July 1, 2015

Researchers from University of York and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Australia conducted a study which led to the discovery of the gene in poppy plants that is necessary in morphine production. Morphine is a natural compound found in poppy plant and used in painkillers.

The researchers discovered that the gene, STORR is the one producing morphinans and evolved with two other genes that result in morphine production. This was identified when the researchers examine the poppy plant varieties that were unable to produce morphine or codeine. These plants carry mutations in STORR gene that serve as a barrier in morphine production pathway in poppy plants.

STORR gene discovery in poppy plant will help in developing breeding of poppy plant varieties targeting the production of anti-cancer compound such as noscapine and aid in genetic engineering of morphine production in microbes.

Read the whole story of their study at the University of York's website.