Crop Biotech Update

GE Approaches to Improve Nitrogen Use Efficiency

May 16, 2008

Doubling agricultural food production worldwide requires a 20-fold increase in the use of nitrogen fertilizer, a most essential nutrient in plant productivity. Its use, however, has detrimental environmental impacts. Scientists are therefore looking at ways to reduce nitrogen fertilizer pollution, one of which is by improving the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of crop plants.

In an article in the ISB Report , Ashok Shrawat and Allen Good discuss genetic engineering approaches to improve nitrogen use efficiency of crop plants. The authors note that proper evaluation of the combined genetic and transgenic approaches to improve NUE should be required as a component of any crop improvement program. This will enable scientists to identify and understand the regulation of the genes involved in enhancing NUE.

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