Biotech Updates

UK Scientists Identify Important Gene in Maize Plant

February 10, 2012

Scientists from Oxford University and the University of Warwick (UK), in collaboration with agricultural biotech research company Biogemma-Limagrain, have identified a gene, called Meg 1 in the maize plant. It regulates the transfer of nutrients from the plant to the seed and is responsible for the formation of specialized conduit cells that confer placenta-like properties to the embryo surrounding tissues of plant seeds.

Dr Gutierrez-Marcos of the University of Warwick said: ‘These findings have significant implications for global agriculture and food security, as scientists now have the molecular know-how to manipulate this gene by traditional plant breeding or through other methods in order to improve seed traits, such as increased seed biomass yield.

A report of the research, entitled Maternal control of nutrient allocation in plant seeds by genomic imprinting, is published in the journal Current Biology.

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