Researchers can finally modify plant mitochondrial DNA

Researchers in Japan have edited plant mitochondrial DNA for the first time, which could lead to a more secure food supply. Researchers used their technique to fabricate four new lines of rice and three new lines of rapeseed (canola).
“We knew we were successful when we saw that the rice plant was more polite — it had a deep bow,” said Associate Professor Shin-ichi Arimura, joking about how a fertile rice plant bends under the weight of heavy seeds.
Arimura is an expert in plant molecular genetics at the University of Tokyo and led the research team, Tohoku University and Tamagawa University also contributed to the research. Researchers hope to use the technique to address the current lack of mitochondrial genetic variation in crops, a potentially disastrous weak point in our food supply.
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