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Volume 560 Issue 7720, 30 August 2018

Lean and green

The green revolution of the 1960s helped to boost agriculture through the creation of high-yield cereal crops. But these elite crops, known as green revolution varieties (GRVs), have a problem: they are poor at using nitrogen and so require high amounts of environmentally damaging fertilizer to reach their full potential. In this week’s issue, Xiangdong Fu and his colleagues reveal that boosting the activity of the protein GRF4 improves the plants’ nitrogen usage while maintaining their high yield. They suggest that applying this result in breeding strategies for GRVs could contribute to the drive for sustainable agriculture.

Cover image: Chanwity/Getty

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