Super plants may fight African hunger

May 24, 2006

Ohio scientists say they've produced genetically modified cassava plants with roots more than two-and-a-half times the size of normal cassava roots.

The Ohio State University researchers say the project might help ease hunger in many nations where people rely heavily on the cassava plant as a primary food source.

The study -- led by Richard Sayre, a cellular and molecular biology professor -- involved using a gene from the bacterium E. coli to genetically modify cassava plants. The plants, grown in a greenhouse, produced roots that were an average 2.6 times larger than those produced by regular cassava plants.

"Not only did these plants produce larger roots, but the whole plant was bigger and had more leaves," Sayre said. Both the roots and leaves of the cassava plant are edible.

Cassava is the primary food source for more than 250 million Africans -- about 40 percent of the continent's population, Sayre said. And the plant's starchy tuberous root is a substantial portion of the diet of nearly 600 million people worldwide.

The study appears in the online early issue of the Plant Biotechnology Journal.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: A sneaky snake: Teams hunt for rock pythons in Everglades

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Indonesia enlists wasps in war on crop killer

Sep 24, 2014

They are the size of a pinhead and don't even pack a sting, but these tiny wasps are cold-blooded killers nonetheless. They work as nature's SWAT team, neutralizing a pest that threatens to destroy one of ...

How scavenging fungi became a plant's best friend

Nov 25, 2013

Glomeromycota is an ancient lineage of fungi that has a symbiotic relationship with roots that goes back nearly 420 million years to the earliest plants. More than two thirds of the world's plants depend ...

Recommended for you

A rare glimpse at the elusive saharan cheetah

1 hour ago

Research by scientists and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, and other groups published today in PLOS ONE shows that critically endangered Saharan cheeta ...

In a role reversal, RNAs proofread themselves

2 hours ago

Building a protein is a lot like a game of telephone: information is passed along from one messenger to another, creating the potential for errors every step of the way. There are separate, specialized enzymatic ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.