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An Anthocyanin-rich Purple Embryo Maize Germplasm Generated by an Efficient Multigene Expression System

Source: Biotechnology Research Institute

Using a novel multi-gene expression system, a research group of the Biotechnology Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) engineered a “Purple Embryo Maize” by changing the spatiotemporal expression characteristics of anthocyanin biosynthesis related maize genes. This strategy overcomes anthocyanins accumulated only in pericarp and the aleurone layer with limited biomass in the traditional edible grains. The relevant research results were published online in the Plant Biotechnology Journal on January 19th, 2018.

Crop performance depends on multiple traits and metabolic pathways and multiple traits must simultaneously be addressed during crop improvement. To meet these broad demands, diverse multi-gene stacking strategies have been developed to introduce multiple genes or complex metabolic pathways into plants. In this study, the researchers combined the advantages of a bidirectional promoter and self-cleaving 2A peptides in multigene expression to produce a simple and efficient Multigene Expression System (MES) that can be used for polyprotein expression and rebuilding engineering complex metabolic pathways. The anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway in the maize embryos was demonstrated in the study.

This study has been funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 31500301) and the National Special Program for GMO Development of China (Grant No.: 2016ZX08003—002). Dr. Liu Xiaoqing of the Institute is the first author of this paper, and Prof. Chen Rumei is the corresponding author. More information about the study can be found in below link:
By Liu Xiaoqing