Soluble Starch Synthases and Methods of Use for Maintaining and Improving Seed DensityTechnology #ua07-059
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Title: Soluble Starch Synthases and Methods of Use for Maintaining and Improving Seed Density
Invention: Researchers at the University of Arizona have discovered a novel soluble starch synthase mutant that acts to improve seed density. This technique is particularly effective at restoring the density of opaque seeds such as those with suppressed alpha zein. Disruption of the starch synthase IIb gene or protein leads to this improvement and so both transgenic and non-transgenic approaches are possible.
Much effort has been made to improve levels of essential amino acids in the protein of maize seed due to the huge importance of this crop. Several approaches involved transgenic suppression of the alpha zein protein. This results in grain with a substantially improved amino acid composition meeting the targets of a balanced amino acid maize grain product for feed uses. However, the endosperm of this grain shows an opaque phenotype and the kernels are softer and less dense than wild type. This phenotype has been associated with undesirable grain handling properties, susceptibility to disease and breakage and inferior agronomic properties.
* Improves the grain density of cereal grains.
* Variety of methods including both transgenic and non-transgenic approaches.