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PSTOL1 – a gene that enhances the uptake of phosphorus in rice plants

PSTOL1 – a gene that enhances the uptake of phosphorus in rice plants

Scientists have identified a gene that enables rice plants to produce around 20% more grain by increasing uptake of phosphorus, an important, but limited, plant nutrient.
The discovery unlocks the potential to improve the food security of rice farmers with the lowest value phosphorus-deficient land allowing them to grow more rice grains to add to global rice production, and earn more. The gene – called PSTOL1 which stands for Phosphorus Starvation Tolerance – helps rice grow a larger, better root system and thereby access more phosphorus.
“For many years we have searched for genes that improve phosphorus uptake,” said Dr. Sigrid Heuer, senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and leader of the team that published the discovery in Nature.”We have now hit the jackpot and found PSTOL1.”

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