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Link between vitamin C and twins can increase seed production in crops
Date:6/18/2012

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Biochemists at the University of California, Riverside report a new role for vitamin C in plants: promoting the production of twins and even triplets in plant seeds.

Daniel R. Gallie, a professor of biochemistry, and Zhong Chen, an associate research biochemist in the Department of Biochemistry, found that increasing the level of dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), a naturally occurring enzyme that recycles vitamin C in plants and animals, increases the level of the vitamin and results in the production of twin and triplet seedlings in a single seed.

The value of the discovery lies in the potential to produce genetically identical seedlings and increase production of high-value crops.

"The ability to increase fertility can be extremely useful when the inherent rate of fertility is low or the value of the crop is great, such as corn in which the production of multiple embryos would significantly boost its protein content," Gallie said. "The extra seedlings per seed may also enhance per-seed survival chances for some species."

Study results appear in the online international journal PLoS ONE.

Just as in humans, twins in plants can be either genetically identical or fraternal. Gallie and Chen discovered that the twins and triplets produced in tobacco plants when vitamin C was increased were true twins or triplets as they were genetically identical.

In the lab, the researchers went on to show that injecting plant ovaries with vitamin C was sufficient to produce twins or triplets and that the vitamin causes the zygote, the fertilized egg, to divide into two or even three fertilized egg cells before these cells procee
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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