Navigation Links
'Psychedelic' maize may help increase crop and biofuel yields

Research published in the journal Genetics suggests that mutant maize have multiple independent pathways used to regulate and export sugars throughout its various organs

More than 40 years have passed since Woodstock, but psychedelics still have people seeing colors this time, in maize, and the significance is no hallucination. That's because scientists from Pennsylvania State University have identified new genes in maize which promote carbohydrate export from leaves. These genes are called psychedelic because of the yellow and green streaks they cause in the plant's leaves. Manipulating these genes may increase crop yields and the amount of biofuel that can be derived from each plant. This research discovery was published in the May 2010 issue of Genetics (

"This study shows that there is still a lot to learn about genes that control carbohydrate distribution in plants," said David Braun, Ph.D, a researcher involved in the work conducted at Penn State's Department of Biology. "By learning how these genes work, I hope we'll be able to improve plant growth and crop yield to solve some of the serious challenges concerning sustainable food and fuel production."

The movement of carbohydrates from leaves to roots, stems, flowers, and seeds is fundamental to plant growth and crop yields. Although the process has been studied for many years, relatively little is known about the genes that control it. This research shows that two previously unknown genes function together to help move carbon from leaves to other parts of the plant, ultimately resulting in the allocation of carbohydrates that are essential for growth. To make this discovery, scientists examined maize with yellow- and green-streaked leaves, a sign of mutation in genes responsible for the transport of carbohydrates within the plant. Once they identified the specific genes responsible for this coloring, they determined exactly which biological pathway they affected. Not only did the scientists find two new genes that work together in this process, but they also discovered that these genes affected a pathway different from anything previously known. This finding raises hope that by manipulating this pathway, corn or other crops could yield more grain for food or feed, more biomass for fuel, or plants better able to withstand environmental stresses, such as drought. This research was funded by the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

"Woodstock was a trip," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics, "but the potential of this and similar research is a journey. Increasing corn yields will impact multiple generations. It would allow farmers to produce more food, feed, and fuel from the same amount of land, and as the human population increases, society will need to get the most out of each plant as possible. This work promises to contribute to a continuation of the Green Revolution."


Contact: Tracey DePellegrin Connelly
Genetics Society of America

Related biology news :

1. DNA evidence is in, newly discovered species of fish dubbed H. psychedelica
2. Absinthe uncorked: The Green Fairy was boozy -- but not psychedelic
3. A-maize-ing discovery could lead to higher corn yields for food, feed and fuel
4. More maize ethanol may boost greenhouse gas emissions
5. The impact of the diffusion of maize to the Southwestern United States
6. PLoS Genetics 2009 maize genome collection
7. Reference genome of maize, most important US crop, is published by team co-led by CSHL scientists
8. New maize map to aid plant breeding efforts
9. Maize cell wall genes identified, giving boost to biofuel research
10. New map of variation in maize genetics holds promise for developing new varieties
11. The amazing maze of maize evolution
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing ...  3D medical LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range ... ... ... Sony 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... The new GEZE SecuLogic access ... "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It can ... door interface with integration authorization management system, and thus ... minimal dimensions of the access control and the optimum ... offer considerable freedom of design with regard to the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome ... has secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon ... ramp up automation and to advance its drug development ... its new facility. "SVB has been an ... beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," said ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division of ... and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing Technology ... among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and distribution, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: