Genetic discovery may improve corn quality, yields

Researchers may be able to improve corn yields and nutritional value after discovering genetic regulators that synthesize starch and protein in the widely eaten grain, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Endosperm

Endosperm is the tissue produced inside the seeds of most flowering plants around the time of fertilization. It surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition in the form of starch, though it can also contain oils and protein. This makes endosperm an important source of nutrition in human diet. For example, wheat endosperm is ground into flour for bread (the rest of the grain is included as well in whole wheat flour), while barley endosperm is the main source for beer production. Other examples of endosperm that forms the bulk of the edible portion are coconut "meat" and coconut "water", and corn, including popcorn. Some plants, like the orchid, lack endosperm in their seeds.

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