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Researchers Use Gene Editing to Increase Nutritional Value of Cereal Grains
When it comes to protein, researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are fully embracing the “quality over quantity” mantra.
While most people tend to focus on the amount of protein their food contains, David Holding and his fellow researchers at the Beadle Center are more concerned with the quality of the protein, which is measured by the presence or absence of amino acids essential to the diets of humans and livestock.
By embracing a range of plant breeding methods, from traditional crossbreeding to more innovative methods like gene editing, Holding and his colleagues have managed to double the lysine content – a vital amino acid – of both popcorn and sorghum, two traditionally lysine-deficient cereal grains.
By enhancing the lysine content, this breakthrough could add economic value to and broaden the appeal of popcorn and make sorghum a more complete source of nutrition in the developing world, where it is a dietary staple because of its drought-resistant qualities.