African researchers develop drought-tolerant GMO maize variety

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Maize is a staple food crop for millions of Africans. Despite this fact, African farmers have been harvesting average grain yield of not more than 2 t/ha while there is a potential of producing more than 10 t/ha. Drought is one of the major abiotic constraints contributing to this low productivity. … The ipt gene codes for isopentenyltransferase (IPT) enzyme which catalyzes the rate limiting step in the biosynthesis of cytokinin and has been shown to enhance tolerance to drought in transgenic crops by delaying drought-induced leaf senescence. This created interest to investigate if ipt gene can be useful in enhancing drought tolerance in locally adapted African tropical maize genotypes. The tropical maize inbred line CML216 was transformed with ipt gene using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation method. … In drought assay carried out in the glass house, transgenic lines expressing the ipt gene showed tolerance to drought as revealed by delayed leaf senescence compared to the wild type plants. Transgenic plants maintained higher relative water content and total chlorophyll during the drought period and produced significantly higher mean grain yield….

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Download open access paper here: Drought tolerant tropical maize (Zea mays L.) developed through genetic transformation with isopentenyltransferase gene

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