Molecular engineering in plants

Plant molecular engineering is the modification of plants or plant material to produce novel compounds, or to improve the efficiency of beneficial products. Major challenges include the production of crop plants with increased nutritional value.

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News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The excess application of nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture and the limitation of nitrogen uptake by crops raise the alarm about the urgency to breed crops with higher nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Recently, a novel strategy has been developed to enhance NUE and crop production by manipulating nitrate remobilization.

    • Nai-Qian Dong
    •  & Hong-Xuan Lin
    Nature Plants 6, 1078-1079
  • News and Views |

    A negative-strand RNA virus is engineered to express both CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) and single-guide RNAs, enabling gene editing as the virus infects the plant.

    • Savithramma P. Dinesh-Kumar
    •  & Daniel F. Voytas
    Nature Plants 6, 738-739
  • News and Views |

    Maintenance of active photosystem II requires rapid turnover of the D1 protein, which is encoded in the chloroplast genome. Nuclear expression of D1 is now used to improve photosynthesis and crop yield under normal and heat-stress conditions.

    • Yoshitaka Nishiyama
    Nature Plants 6, 442-443
  • News and Views |

    An engineered increase in Rubisco production has increased photosynthetic capacity, rice yield and nitrogen use efficiency in an experimental paddy field. This demonstrates a key means to sustainably increasing yield and global food security.

    • Stephen P. Long
    Nature Food 1, 105
  • Research Highlights |

    The complete biosynthetic pathway of the anticancer drug etoposide has been engineered into a tobacco plant enabling its direct milligram scale production.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • News and Views |

    A new strategy based on a sophisticated and efficient system of modified pentatricopeptide repeat 10 proteins boost plastid transgene expression and the accumulation of foreign proteins by up to 40-fold.

    • Francis Quétier
    Nature Plants 5, 453-454