Enhancing crop nutrient uptake capacity

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Contracts Office

Abstract

Root hairs are essential for the uptake of vital nutrients and water from the soil by crops. Cultivars with longer root hairs take up more nutrients and give higher yields than those with shorter root hairs. RSL4 is a transcription factor that allows us for the first time to modulate root hair length in plants. We can use this gene to make plants with increased nutrient and water uptake capacity. However, we need to confirm to potential licensees that RSL4-induced root hair development (RSL4-technology) will enhance plant performance, and preferably in more than just one species. To this end we will develop a range of crops with longer root hairs using RSL4-technology and quantify the growth/yield enhancement that can be achieved with this technology. By the end of the proposed research we expect to have 1) demonstrated that RSL4-technology enhances crop growth and yields and 2) generated seed stocks that we can provide directly to potential licensees for their own evaluation.

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