Scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) reported that
microRNA156 (miR156) affects
expression and promotes root regenerative capacity and nitrogen fixation
load/biotech-crop-annual-update-alfalfa-2016.pdf> alfalfa. The results are
published in Transgenic Research journal.
In a previous study, the researchers from AAFC generated alfalfa plants that
overexpress homologous miR156 (MsmiR156OE) and found three of its SPL target
genes. The plants showed improved yield, delayed flowering, and longer
roots. In the recent study, they aimed to understand the effect of miR156 on
the root system, particularly on nodulation and
Results revealed that MsmiR156 overexpression promotes root regeneration
capacity in alfalfa, however with low influence on root biomass during the
early stage of root development. It also improves nitrogen fixation activity
by upregulating expression of nitrogenase-related genes. Furthermore,
expression analysis showed that miR156 affects the genes involved in
nodulation, root development, and phytohormone biosynthesis.
Based on the results, miR156 could be used as a tool in genetic improvement
of alfalfa and possibly other important crops.