Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Analyze Maize's Fertilizer Uptake to Improve Yields

March 30, 2022

Researchers from Guangdong Academy of Science in China used a new technique called single cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) to identify and describe the major cell types in the root-tip of maize as well as the developmental pathways and genes involved in various functions. Their study is published in The Crop Journal.

The root system is vital in the growth and yield of maize plants. Finding out its genetic diversity and response to nitrate at the single-cell level will provide insights into root development and nutrient uptake. Using scRNA-seq, the researchers evaluated over 7,000 cells from the root tips of maize seedlings grown on two types of media, one with nitrate fertilizer and the other without nitrate. They identified and characterized 11 major cell types of tissue that were found in significantly different ranges. A total of 85 cell type-specific genes were identified to be involved in nitrate response, with some of them linked to nitrate uptake and metabolism. Additional analysis provided hints about the developmental pathways of different cells.

The results of the study contribute to the development of more efficient, economical, and sustainable maize crop production.

For more details, read the research article in The Crop Journal.

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