Single genetic tweak in GMO corn boosts yields 10%—other crops could be improved, too

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Credit: Delta Farm Press

Supporters of genetic engineering have long promised it will help meet the world’s growing demand for food. But despite the creation of many genetically modified (GM) pest- and herbicide-resistant crops, scientists haven’t had much success with boosting crop growth. Now, researchers have for the first time shown they can reliably increase corn yields up to 10% by changing a gene that increases plant growth—regardless of whether growing conditions are poor or optimal.

[R]esearchers at Corteva Agriscience …. decided to look at genes that function like master switches for growth and yield. They picked MADS-box genes, a group common in many plants, before settling on one (zmm28) to alter in corn plants. The challenge of working with genes that regulate development is making sure they turn on the right amount at the right time and in the right type of tissues.

Related article:  'Exotic' genes from obsolete cotton varieties could boost crop yields without sacrificing fiber quality

The researchers tested the enhanced gene’s performance in 48 commercial types of corn …. across corn-growing regions of the United States between 2014 and 2017 …. Some yielded 8% to 10% more …. There’s a “good chance” that related regulatory genes might boost yield in other cereals ….

Read full, original article: New genetically modified corn produces up to 10% more than similar types

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