Biotech Updates

Improved Phosphate Uptake in Alfalfa Seeds by Overexpression of Genes from Medicago truncatula

September 23, 2011

Alfalfa is one of the widely grown crops in the USA. Since the essential element phosphate is deficient in areas where forage crops like alfalfa are grown, Xue Feng Ma of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, USA, and a team of scientists conducted a study on improving the use of organic phosphate by alfalfa. They overexpressed two genes (MtPHY1 and MtPAP1) involved in phosphate production in legume Medicago truncatula.

Based on the root enzyme activity analyses, overexpression of any of the two genes could lead to increase in acid phosphatase activities. However, overexpression of MtPHY1 resulted to higher phytase activity than the other gene. The researchers also measured the growth performance of the transgenic lines and proved that MtPHY1 driven by the MtPT1 promoter is the best gene-promoted combination. All transgenic lines with higher levels of gene expression showed improved growth. A number of transgenic lines also exhibited significantly higher biomass. The total phosphate concentration of leaf tissues of the high-expressing transgenic lines was also significantly higher than the control plants.

Read the research article published by Molecular Breeding at