Friday, November 27, 2015

Scientists find “Orphan Gene” in a single plant species that’ll boost crops protein value

Research from the University of Iowa State has found a gene in Arabidopsis plants that regulates protein content in the plants leaves and seeds. It is called the Orphan Gene because it is only found in this species of plant. Scientists Li and Wurtele came up with the idea that what if they could transgenic technology to implement this gene into staple crops that we commonly eat. The Orphan gene is gene QQS and binds to protein NF-YC4 which is a protein that appears in all plants and animals. By overexpressing this gene, scientists hope to be able to boost the protein value in plants. Since most of the worlds’ diet consists of plant-based protein diets, this could improve the protein quality and rely less on costly meat-based protein. Although research is very costly and could take years, this is only the beginning of this genes discovery, there is a large possibility more of this gene can be discovered and it already has a large potential.

The discovery of this gene can make a huge impact if it is implemented in other plants. Most people in the world already do not get enough protein in their diet, so this could impact the world if these scientists were able to make this work, as well as make sure it is safe. Since this gene was only discovered in 2004 and has limited research on it, hopefully scientists can unlock more mysteries of this gene and put it to good use.
 The original article can be found here.

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