Genetic discovery may improve corn quality, yields

phys.org | 4/15/2019 | Staff
Caris (Posted by) Level 3
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Researchers may be able to improve corn yields and nutritional value after discovering genetic regulators that synthesize starch and protein in the widely eaten grain, according to a Rutgers-led study.

The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could benefit millions of people who rely on corn for nutrition in South America, Africa and elsewhere.

World - Corn - Supply - Yield - Quality

The world's corn supply depends on improving its yield and quality, which relies on the accumulation of starch and proteins in the grain's endosperm, the study says. Endosperm, an important source of human nutrition that contains starch, oils and proteins, is the seed tissue that surrounds embryos.

"We found a novel approach to discover new regulators in the synthesis of starch and protein, which determine grain yield and quality," said study lead author Zhiyong Zhang, a post-doctoral fellow at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Scientists - Corn - Starch - Protein - Endosperm

The scientists discovered how corn starch and protein are simultaneously synthesized in the endosperm, which could allow them to find a good balance between nutrient quality and yield, Zhang said. Corn domestication and modern breeding have gradually increased starch content but decreased protein accumulation in endosperms.

The researchers looked at key proteins in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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