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US researchers develop high-protein soybeans

Researchers from the US Iowa State University (Ames) have developed genetically modified soybeans that contain 30-60% more protein than conventional soybeans. The new soybeans express a starch deposition regulatory gene, QQS, from thale cress ( Arabidopsis thaliana). The QQS gene is unusual in that it is very small, only 59 amino acids, just a sixth of the median length of thale cress genes. The sequence also shares no similarity with other known genes in A thaliana or other plants, and until recently, its function was unclear. The gene’s sequence provides no hint as to its function, says lead researcher Eve Wurtele, professor of genetics, development and cell biology at the University.

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