Scientists at the Carnegie Institution and the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered a mutation in plants that makes the tap root accumulate large amounts of oils, proteins, and starch. The discovery could lead to genetically engineered plants that store commercially useful substances in an enlarged root. The finding could also make possible the creation of more nutritious root crops with a better balance of oil, protein, and starch. (Most root crops in Third World countries, such as cassava and taro, contain only starch.) The mutation was found in the experimental plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Once the gene containing the mutation has been cloned, it should be possible to track down the analogous gene in other plants, such as turnips, radishes, and sweet potato.
The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Institution. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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