Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Triple Copies of Gene Make Maize Tolerant to Toxic Soil

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Rendering some of the world's toxic soils moot, researchers are learning to grow stress-tolerant crops on formerly non-farmable land.

In this effort, when plant scientists searched the maize genome for clues as to why some plants can tolerate toxic aluminum in soil, they found three copies of the same gene known to affect aluminum tolerance, according to new USDA/Cornell-led research.

Aluminum toxicity comes close to rivaling drought as a food-security threat in critical tropical food-producing regions.

Acidic soils dissolve aluminum from clays in the soil, making it toxic to plant roots in half the world's arable lands. The MATE1 gene, which was found in triplicate in aluminum-tolerant maize, turns on in the presence of aluminum ions and expresses a protein that transports citric acid from root tips into the soil, which binds to and locks up aluminum, thereby preventing it from harming roots.

"We found three functional copies that were identical," said senior author Leon Kochian, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory at Cornell. "This is one of the first examples of copy number variation contributing to an agronomically important trait."

He added that the extra gene copies had a cumulative effect of coding for more protein that transports aluminum-binding citric acid into the soil.

The study, "Aluminum tolerance in maize is associated with higher MATE1 gene copy number," appeared online March 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The finding points to the importance of looking for multiple copies of a gene for higher expression of certain traits. "This could be a key factor for other traits of agricultural importance," said Kochian.

The research came out of a long collaboration on aluminum tolerance with Embrapa Maize and Sorghum in Brazil, which provided the aluminum-tolerant maize germplasm where the 3-copy allele was discovered. Lead author Lyza Maron, a senior research associate at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell, also collaborated with researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville, the University of Missouri, Arizona Genomics Institute and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to verify the finding. By sequencing the genomic regions that harbor the MATE1 gene in aluminum-tolerant and aluminum-sensitive plants, she found a similar MATE1 allele (version of a gene) in both types of plants. But when she examined copy number variation, she found the aluminum-tolerant plant had three copies, while the intolerant plant had only one copy of the MATE1 allele.

"[Copy number variation] is well documented in the human genome," Kochian said, "and maize does a lot of this, so there are probably many examples" of gene copy numbers affecting traits, he concluded.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,900+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Pathogen Takes Control of Gypsy Moth Populations
A new fungal pathogen is killing gypsy moth caterpillars and crowding out communities of pathogens and parasites that previously destroyed these moth pests.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
$4.8M USAID Grant to Improve Food Security
To strengthen capacity to develop and disseminate genetically engineered eggplant in Bangladesh and the Philippines, the USAID has awarded Cornell a $4.8 million, three-year cooperative grant.
Friday, April 01, 2016
$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Genetics Used to Improve Plants for Bioenergy
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Pest Attacks Can Lead to Bigger Crop Yields
New project receive three-year funding of $498,000 from USDA.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Algal Genes May Boost Efficiency, Yield in Staple Crops
New research has taken a step toward employing genes from blue-green algae to improve staple crop photosynthesis.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Study to Focus on Rice Genes, Yield and Climate
Cornell researchers received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study relationships among rice genetics, crop yields and climate.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
New Alfalfa Variety Resists Ravenous Local Pest
The new variety has some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle which has ravaged alfalfa fields.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Predators Delay Pest Resistance to Bt Crops
Crops genetically modified with the bacterium Bt(Bacillus thuringiensis) produce proteins that kill pest insects.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar
Despite widespread fascination with sharks, the world’s oldest ocean predators have long been a genetic mystery.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Surprises Discovered in Decoded Kiwifruit Genome
DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Produce Perfect: Biotech Sweet Corn goes Unblemished
With the kernel-loving earworm, producing unblemished ears of sweet corn is difficult.
Monday, October 14, 2013
New Micro Water Sensor Can Aid Growers
Crop growers, wine grape and other fruit growers, food processors and even concrete makers all benefit from water sensors for accurate, steady and numerous moisture readings.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Partnership Homes in on Regenerative Medicine
Scientists are to advance healing techniques and technologies for animals and humans.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Using Genes to Rescue Animal and Plants from Extinction
With estimates of losing 15 to 40 percent of the world’s species over the next four decades researchers whether science should employ genetic engineering to the rescue.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Scientific News
Diverse Fungi Secrete Similar Suite of Decomposition Enzymes
A recent study reveals different fungal species secrete a rich set of enzymes that share similar functions, despite species-specific differences in the amino acid sequences of these enzymes.
More tomatoes, Faster
Scientists at the Boyce Thompson Institute accelerate tomato engineering.
Genetic Ancestry of Cultivated Strawberry Unravelled
UNH scientists constructed a linkage map of the seven chromosomes of the diploid Fragaria iinumae, which allows them to fill in a piece of the genetic puzzle about the eight sets of chromosomes of the cultivated strawberry.
Controlling DNA Repair
Scientists discover that DNA repair outcomes following CRISPR-Cas9 cleaving are non-random and can be harnessed to produce desired effects.
From Fins to Fingers
New gene-editing methods help the mapping of cells linking fish fins and mammalian limbs.
Unravelling a Microbial Mess
Scientists have untangled the Kansas-based mess of microbes more fully than scientists have ever done for a sample of soil.
Tobacco Hornworm Genome Sequenced
A Kansas State University-led international team has sequenced the genome of the tobacco hornworm — a caterpillar species used in many research laboratories for studies of insect biology.
Zeroing In On Better Mandarin Traits
Scientists from the University of Florida have identified genetic markers that could be used to increase mandarin quality.
The Genetics Behind Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in the United States. And while much is understood about the biochemistry of anxiety, little is known about the genetic variation associated with it.
How Cloud Connectivity Can Combat the Reproducibility Crisis
This infographic explains the reproducibility crisis, and how cloud connectivity can help overcome this problem.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!