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Crop Biotech Update

Overexpression of Mutated ZmDA1 or ZmDAR1 Gene Improves Maize Yield via Enhanced Starch Synthesis

August 2, 2017

DA1 and DAR1 are ubiquitin receptors that function as negative regulators of cell proliferation during development in Arabidopsis. An arginine to lysine mutant at amino acid site 358 could lead to the da1-1 phenotype, which results in an increased organ size and larger seeds. The team led by Guangning Xie from Shandong University in China separately introduced the mutated ZmDA1 (Zmda1) and mutated ZmDAR1 (Zmdar1) into the maize elite inbred line, DH4866.

The grain yield of the transgenic plants was 15% greater than that of the wild types due to improvements in the grain number, weight, and starch content. Analysis showed that overexpression of mutated Zmda1 and Zmdar1 promoted kernel development and enhanced expression of starch synthase genes, leading to enhanced grain yield.

This study suggests that the overexpression of the mutated ZmDA1 or ZmDAR1 genes can improve starch synthesis in maize kernels. This could be a candidate gene for improving maize yield.

For more on this study, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.