HANOVER, N.H., July 31 (UPI) -- U.S. biologists say they have identified a plant gene that is required for both efficient photosynthesis and for iron metabolism.
Dartmouth College Professor Mary Lou Guerinot, who led the study, and graduate student Jeeyon Jeong said they found the gene while investigating how plants take up essential nutrients from the environment as they grow.
"There's a lot of attention today on global food shortages," said Guerinot. "We've found a gene that is key for proper chloroplast function. This finding might some day help scientists develop plants that grow better and can serve as more nutritious food."
Guerinot and her colleagues found molecular evidence that the gene FRO7 is involved in chloroplast iron acquisition and is required for efficient photosynthesis.
The study that included Erin Connolly and Loubna Kerkeb of the University of South Carolina and Marinus Pilon and Chris Cohu at Colorado State University appeared in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.