Friday, April 20, 2007

Another potential Evil GMO! *cue thunder, lightning*

Those shady GMO plants, what with their complete carotenoid biosynthetic pathways and their home-made defenses against invasive species. Thinkin theyre all hot 'feeding starving people.' I mean look at this guy! What a little snot!

Looks like the usual suspects could have a new buddy. In a recent PNAS paper, a group of Frankensteins playing GOD figured out how to get rice to take up Fe3+ again by MUTATING the rice genome. A long time ago, the ancestor of rice could take up either Fe3+ or Fe2+ from the soil it was grown in. It only really wanted the Fe2+, but it figured out how to make it out of Fe3+. Modern day rice is grown in rice paddies where Fe2+ is abundant, so it lost the ability to take up Fe3+. Meh, no big whoop. Like salamanders/fish in dark caves that have 'lost' their eyes- If you dont need a gene and you lose it through mutation, meh!

Except... what if you need to grow rice in a low-Fe2+ environment? I mean not every farm is as rich as the Missouri River bed-- you just have to grow food where you can, so you just end up with sick, low yielding plants. Its the best you can hope for. Or is it?

Like in their lost-a-trait cousins, all the right parts are still in the rice genome for taking up Fe3+. These guys just mutated the rice genome back to its ancestral state, and hurray! Rice can grow under low Fe2+ conditions again! Man could you imagine GMO rice with this gene AND the ability to make Vitamin A?

Start painting your protest posters now!

**I realize there are valid complaints against GMOs. However the hysteria over GMOs is scientifically unfounded (eg Frankenstein glowing man eating plants). Read more over at Conspiracy Factory!


The Factician said...

Nice post. I hadn't seen this yet. Thanks.

Tyler DiPietro said...

That plant looks so sexy that I could have sex with it.

Trust me, I'll find a way. I always do...

ERV said...

factician-- I have no idea if theyre actually planning on making a GMO out of these preliminary experiments, but Id eat it :P
My genetics professor in college was working on the golden rice project before they decided to take the genes from daffodils (the original thought was to get them out of corn). I wish I had some of his lectures/presentations on GMOs recorded.

Tyler-- ROFL! Its the tassels. Theyre so hot.

Foxy said...

ABBIE!!!! This fox sincerely wishes you a wonderful and happy birthday ^.^

Tyler DiPietro said...

We have a B-Day message up on our site for you, when you have a minute.


ERV said...

Thank you, guys!!!