Scientists Find Molecule for Boosting Plant Growth With Less NitrogenSeptember 5, 2018
A study published in Nature reports about a gene that improves plants' ability to absorb nitrogen, which can help develop high-yielding varieties of rice, wheat, and other staple crops that would need less fertilizer.
According to plant geneticist Xiangdong Fu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and co-authors, modern crops cannot absorb nitrogen as efficiently as traditional crops can, thus fertilizers are applied to help modern crops grow. However, when nitrogen-rich runoff from farm fields reaches rivers, lakes and oceans, it can feed massive algal blooms that consume oxygen and suffocate aquatic organisms. "That's why we need to look for new varieties that can produce high yields, but with less fertilizer," Fu added.
Fu and colleagues studied the role of DELLA proteins that have been pinpointed as the cause of modern crops' poor nitrogen absorption and short stature. These proteins are disrupted by growth hormones in traditional crops, while in modern plants, DELLA proteins thrive because of their immunity to the hormones. Thus, the team searched for ways to combat DELLA proteins. They scanned the DNA of 36 dwarf rice varieties and found two genes that govern nitrogen consumption. One of the genes codes for DELLA, and the other codes for growth-regulating factor 4 (GRF4), which has been known to be involved only in grain size and yield. Fu and team further found that GRF4 counteracts the effects of DELLA by influencing the plants to absorb and metabolize nitrogen and carbon to support growth. Then they bred rice plants to develop a better concentration of the GRF4 protein. This leads to high yielding short plants which need less nitrogen than conventional plants.
Read more information from Nature.
Biotech Updates is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a not-for-profit organization. It is distributed for free to over 22,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Warming Climate to Increase Crop Losses Due to Insect Pests
- World's Top Universities Join Forces to Fight Hunger
- Farmer Leader in Ghana Shifts Support to Agri-biotech After Getting Facts
- Researchers Find New Genes in Soybean Linked to Aphid Resistance
- Brazilian Court Lifts Glyphosate Ban
- Study: 20 Years of GM Adoption in Brazil Increased Farmers' Profits, Boosted Economy, and Preserved the Environment
- Sorghum's Weed-Killing Power Transferred to Rice
- Scientists Find Molecule for Boosting Plant Growth With Less Nitrogen
- Research Sheds Light on Plant Signaling
- Plastomes Reveal How Eggplants Became Asian
- Scientists Develop CasPER, a Method for Enzyme Modification
- Two Methods Used in Finding Capsaicinoid Candidate Genes in Hot Pepper
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Researchers Plan to Release Transgenic Chestnut to Save the Tree
- Opium Poppy Genome Decoded
- 2018 International Conference on Biotechnology and Bioengineering (ICBB2018)
- Scientists Edit Gene for Plant Height in Tomato
- Cas9 and Cas12a Compared in Targeted Gene Editing in Maize
- Method for Production of Non-transgenic Gene-edited Plants, Developed for Cloned Plants
Read the latest:
- Biotech Updates (March 22, 2023)
- Genome Editing Supplement (March 22, 2023)
- Gene Drive Supplement (February 22, 2023)
Subscribe to BU: