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Metal homeostasis research in plants will lead to nutrient-rich food and higher yielding crops

ype copy of IRT1, the engineered allele allows these plants to take up iron and renders them resistant to Cadmium. Transgenic seedlings have Cadmium levels similar to that of IRT1 loss of function plants, demonstrating that Cadmium transport through IRT1 has been eliminated. Furthermore, these plants have twice as much Iron as wild type plants when grown in the presence of Cadmium.

While the ability to quantify the amount of particular metals present in various plant tissues has proved very informative, Guerinot said she and her colleagues would also like to be able to see where the metals are distributed within various plant organs.

"We have used X-ray fluorescence microtomography to determine, in vivo, the spatial distribution of metals in Arabidopsis seed. Examination of various mutants is shedding light on which transporters influence the distribution of important nutrients such as Iron in the seed. Such information should aid the development of nutrient-rich seed, beneficially affecting human nutrition and health. This research should also lead to agronomic benefits such as increased seedling vigor, higher crop yields and resistance to disease," Guerinot said.


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Source:American Society of Plant Biologists


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