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Study Could Lead to Better Corn Plants

Plants harvest energy through the process of photosynthesis, using sunlight to produce sugars. However, little is known about the genes that regulate the transport of sugars to build different parts of the plant. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has received a $6.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to lead a research team to study the genes that control the movement of carbohydrates in corn. This research may lead to increased yield, more drought resistant plants, larger plants and easier production of biofuels.

“When corn produces carbohydrates in the leaves, it transports sucrose, a type of sugar, to other parts of the plant, including the ears and roots,” said David Braun, an associate professor in the Division of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science and a member of the MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group. “By understanding how the movement of carbohydrates is regulated, we may be able to engineer plants that better meet the needs of farmers and consumers.”

 

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Posted on Mar 14, 2011.

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