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RNA Breakthrough Creates Rice and Potatoes that Grow 50% More; Tolerate Drought
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: July 30, 2021 09:19AM

A group of scientists from the University of Chicago, Peking University,
and Guizhou University has found a genetic tweak that targetsRNA to help
grow crops that yield significantly more food and show

In their initial tests, the scientists found that adding ageneencoding
for a protein called FTO to both rice and potato plants increased yields
by 50 percent in field tests. The plants grew significantly larger,
produced longer root systems, and were better able to tolerate drought
stress. Their analysis also showed that the plants had increased their
rate of photosynthesis.

FTO is the first known protein that erases chemical marks on RNA. The
scientists inserted the gene for FTO intoriceplants and they were amazed
to see the plants grew three times more rice under laboratory
conditions. In real field tests, the plants grew 50 percent more mass
and yielded 50 percent more rice. They grew longer roots,
photosynthesized more efficiently, and could better withstand stress
from drought. They repeated the experiments with potato plants and the
results were the same.

Scientists believe that FTO controls a process known as m6A, which is a
key modification of RNA. In this scenario, FTO works by erasing m6A RNA
to muffle some of the signals that tell plants to slow down and reduce

RNA breakthrough creates crops that can grow 50% more potatoes, rice |
University of Chicago News (

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