Yueqin Chen at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and co-workers1 have now developed genetically modified rice plants that could yield up to 25% more grains than normal rice plants.
The researchers initially studied OsmiR397, a microRNA that is highly expressed in rice seeds but not during development. They found that OsmiR397 downregulates the gene OsLAC, whose product increases the sensitivity of plants to to growth-promoting hormones called brassinosteroids. This led them to believe that the expression of OsmiR397 may affect grain yield.
Nature Biotechnology - Overexpression of microRNA OsmiR397 improves rice yield by increasing grain size and promoting panicle branching
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