Saturday, November 21, 2015

A New Solution on the Horizon for the Protein Deficient Developing World

A new gene that is found currently in only one type of plant might be able to be used to enrich the diets of people in the developing world. The gene, called QQS, is termed an "orphan gene"and is only found in one species of plant. Researchers from Iowa State University were able to take this orphan gene and implant it into other species of plants including corn, soybean and rice. This led to higher protein content in these crops without a drop in crop production. The gene is unique because it binds to the NF-YC4 protein, which is found naturally in all plants and animals. This means that the orphan gene doesn't need to be transplanted transgenically, but rather can be introduced in an easier way.

This gene could be used to drastically improve the lives of people in the developing world. Researchers one day might be able to simply implant this gene into any crop that a local population grows in order to boost their protein intake. Many problems are found from protein deficiency, including marasmus and infestation from parasites. This would help developing populations attain the protein that they need and guarantee them a healthier life.

The Researchers Involved in the Study of the QQS Gene

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