Seed World

Nutrition-Regulating Genes Could Be Bred into Wheat, Corn

Researchers at New York’s Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research say genes to increase or enhance plant nutrition could be bred into plant varieties to create healthier crops.
Researchers identified a critical transporter of ammonium that can keep symbiosis going inside a plant, even when the plant doesn’t receive phosphate in return. The protein, called AMT2;3, is from the ammonium transporter 2 family and might also serve as the sensor for the plant cell to help it monitor how much ammonium it receives.
The researchers say that without this transporter or the critical phosphate transporters, sugars stop flowing to the fungus and consequently the symbiosis breaks down.
“This symbiosis can occur in every major crop for the whole world food supply, not just this little Medicago plant that we use as our model in the lab,” says professor Maria Harrison. “It works in maize, rice, wheat, sorghum and all the edible legumes.”
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