More Nutritious Wheat

Posted on November 25, 2006  Comments (2)

A wheat gene, now present but inactive, could boost nutrition if it were active. Wheat’s lost gene helps nutrition

The gene occurs naturally in wheat, but has largely been silenced during the evolution of domestic varieties. Researchers found evidence that turning it back on could raise levels of the nutrients in wheat grains.

Writing in the journal Science, they suggest that new varieties with a fully functioning gene can be created through cross-breeding with wild wheat. “Wheat is one of the world’s major crops, providing approximately one-fifth of all calories consumed by humans,”

“This experiment confirmed that this single gene was responsible for all these changes.”

The researchers deduced that the reverse process – enhancing GPC-B1 activity – ought to produce plants which have higher levels of these nutrients in their grains and mature faster. The UC Davis team is already making such varieties, not by genetic engineering but through crossing domesticated wheat plants with wild relatives.

Related: Are Our Vegetables Less Nutritious?Norman Borlaug and other Scientist who Shaped our WorldWhere Bacteria Get Their Genes

2 Responses to “More Nutritious Wheat”

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    March 17th, 2007 @ 5:49 pm

    “How do organisms decide when to grow and when to stop growing? These questions are especially important in plants because they are rooted in the ground and must alter their shape and size in response to their local environment…”

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    July 15th, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

    “To me the lesson is to learn from our past that we often have unintended consequences that are worse than we envisioned and we need to be careful. We can’t assume there are no risks that we don’t know about. There are risks we can’t predict…”

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