Wheat's lost gene helps nutrition
Turning on a gene found in wheat could boost levels of protein, iron and zinc, scientists have discovered.
The gene occurs naturally in wheat, but has largely been silenced during the evolution of domestic varieties.
Researchers found evidence that turning it back on could raise levels of the nutrients in wheat grains.
Writing in the journal Science, they suggest that new
"Wheat is one of the world's major crops, providing
"Therefore, even small increases in wheat's nutritional value may help decrease deficiencies in protein and key micronutrients."
The researchers identified a gene called GPC-B1, GPC standing for Grain Protein Content.
It is found in both wild and domesticated varieties of
Working with a variety of wheat called Bobwhite, a staple crop whose
RNA interference is a recently-discovered technique which blocks the expression of genes.
"The results were spectacular," said Professor Dubcovsky.
"The grains from the genetically modified plants matured
"This experiment confirmed that this single gene was responsible for all these changes."
The researchers deduced that the reverse process -
The UC Davis team is already making such varieties, not
The key is a technology called Marker Assisted Selection
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