Vitamin E discovery in maize could lead to more nutritious crop

November 1, 2017 by Joe Schwartz, Cornell University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

New research has identified genes that control vitamin E content in maize grain, a finding that could lead to improving the nutritional profile of this staple crop.

Cornell University scientists and colleagues from other institutions combined different types of genetic association analyses to identify 14 genes across the genome that were involved in the synthesis of vitamin E. Six genes were newly discovered to encode proteins that contribute to a class of called tocochromanols, collectively known as vitamin E. Along with , tocochromanols have been associated with good heart health in humans and proper functioning in plants.

"We have established a near-complete foundation for the genetic improvement of vitamin E in grain of maize and other major cereals," said Michael Gore, associate professor of plant breeding and genetics and a co-corresponding author of the study published in the journal, The Plant Cell.

"There has been talk, among breeders working to increase provitamin A in maize, that we could increase E at the same time," said Christine Diepenbrock, a graduate student in Gore's lab, and the paper's first author. "They are related compounds biochemically, and tocochromanols are essential for seed viability in that they prevent seed oils from going rancid throughout storage, germination and early seedling development."

Explore further: Team finds an economical way to boost the vitamin A content of maize

More information: Christine H Diepenbrock et al, Novel Loci Underlie Natural Variation in Vitamin E Levels in Maize Grain, The Plant Cell (2017). DOI: 10.1105/tpc.17.00475

Related Stories

Study shows vitamin C is essential for plant growth

September 24, 2007

Scientists from the University of Exeter and Shimane University in Japan have proved for the first time that vitamin C is essential for plant growth. This discovery could have implications for agriculture and for the production ...

Low vitamin D levels if you're lactose intolerant

May 23, 2017

Those with a genetic intolerance to lactose may suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. That's according to a recent study conducted at the University of Toronto and published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Now we know why carrots are orange

May 9, 2016

Scientists unveiled Monday the gene in carrots that gives rise to carotenoids, a critical source of Vitamin A and the pigment that turns some fruits and vegetables bright orange or red.

Recommended for you

Scientists engineer new CRISPR platform for DNA targeting

January 23, 2019

A team that includes the scientist who first harnessed the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 and other systems for genome editing of eukaryotic organisms, including animals and plants, has engineered another CRISPR system, called ...

0 comments

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.