Dr. Eleanore Wurtzel on Breeding Maize Rich in Provitamin A
March 11, 2008
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We have recently published a paper in the Journal of Science that addresses a use of genomic tools to develop new varieties of maize that have higher levels of Vitamin A, and this will be very important in combating a global health problem of Vitamin A deficiency. The work in my lab is centered on trying to understand how carotinoids get accumulated--that is, the level of gene expression. Millions of children around the world are suffering from Vitamin A deficiency, and millions are dying from diseases associated with this deficiency. So, one approach to alleviating the problem, is to provide foods that are more nutritious, and pro-Vitamin A carotinoids. This particular paper shows that you can use DNA-based markers, and take advantage of germplasm resources--that is, plant resources, to develop reading lines without the use of any genetic engineering approaches. The importance of the paper is exactly that new lines of maize can be developed that have higher levels of Vitamin A.