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Legume genetic discovery could improve crop growth
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: July 05, 2024 09:47AM

Scientists from La Trobe University and partners have identified that the
FUN gene regulates the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to usable

Legumes, such as peas and beans, coordinate with soil bacteria to transform
atmospheric nitrogen into nutrients that will help boost the growth of
crops. However, this process is minimized when the soil has plenty of
available nitrogen due to natural processes or through the usage of

Researchers screened about 150,000 legume plants with knocked-out genes to
analyze how crops switch between nitrogen fixation and soil nitrogen uptake.
They discovered Fixation Under Nitrate (FUN), a transcription factor that
controls gene expression. Their findings also showed that zinc levels may
trigger the activation of FUN, which will stop nitrogen fixation.

"From an agricultural perspective, continued nitrogen fixation could be a
beneficial trait that increases nitrogen availability, both for the legume
and for future crops that rely on the nitrogen left behind in the soil after
legumes are grown," said Dr. Dugald Reid, lead author of the study. Another
research is being conducted to investigate how legume crops perform when FUN
is removed.


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