Plant Gene Size

Scientists discover a gene in seeds that controls the size and yield of crops.

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Scientists have successfully manipulated a naturally occurring growth gene in seeds to produce larger crops, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from the John Innes Center in the UK and the University of Freiburg in Gemany identified the gene in an experiment using small flowering plants, finding that it naturally occurs in all plants but is not always activated during growth. By altering the growth signals in seeds, scientists are able to produce seeds three times larger in size and weight. The project is the first of its kind to yield reciprocal effects on seed size, and scientists say it could help solve world hunger and food supply problems.