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In order to gain further insight into the partly-characterized carotenoid biosynthetic pathway in corn (Zea mays L.), we cloned cDNAs encoding the enzymes carotenoid isomerase (CRTISO) and β-carotene hydroxylase (BCH) using endosperm mRNA isolated from inbred line B73. For both enzymes, two distinct cDNAs were identified mapping to different chromosomes.(More)
The profile of secondary metabolites in plants reflects the balance of biosynthesis, degradation and storage, including the availability of precursors and products that affect the metabolic equilibrium. We investigated the impact of the precursor-product balance on the carotenoid pathway in the endosperm of intact rice plants because this tissue does not(More)
We have developed an assay based on rice embryogenic callus for rapid functional characterization of metabolic genes. We validated the assay using a selection of well-characterized genes with known functions in the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway, allowing rapid visual screening of callus phenotypes based on tissue color. We then used the system to identify(More)
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are international development targets for the year 2015 that aim to achieve relative improvements in the standards of health, socioeconomic status and education in the world's poorest countries. Many of the challenges addressed by the MDGs reflect the direct or indirect consequences of subsistence agriculture in(More)
Carotenoids fulfill many processes that are essential for normal growth and development in plants, but they are also responsible for the breathtaking variety of red-to-yellow colors we see in flowers and fruits. Although such visual diversity helps to attract pollinators and encourages herbivores to distribute seeds, humans also benefit from the aesthetic(More)
Rice endosperm is devoid of carotenoids because the initial biosynthetic steps are absent. The early carotenogenesis reactions were constituted through co-transformation of endosperm-derived rice callus with phytoene synthase and phytoene desaturase transgenes. Subsequent steps in the pathway such as cyclization and hydroxylation reactions were catalyzed by(More)
Antioxidants are protective molecules that neutralize reactive oxygen species and prevent oxidative damage to cellular components such as membranes, proteins and nucleic acids, therefore reducing the rate of cell death and hence the effects of ageing and ageing-related diseases. The fortification of food with antioxidants represents an overlap between two(More)
Plants and microbes produce multiple carotenoid pigments with important nutritional roles in animals. By unraveling the basis of carotenoid biosynthesis it has become possible to modulate the key metabolic steps in plants and thus increase the nutritional value of staple crops, such as rice (Oryza sativa), maize (Zea mays) and potato (Solanum tuberosum).(More)
Malnutrition is a prevalent and entrenched global socioeconomic challenge that reflects the combined impact of poverty, poor access to food, inefficient food distribution infrastructure, and an over-reliance on subsistence mono-agriculture. The dependence on staple cereals lacking many essential nutrients means that malnutrition is endemic in developing(More)
Genetically engineered (GE) crops can be used as part of a combined strategy to address food insecurity, which is defined as a lack of sustainable access to safe and nutritious food. In this article, we discuss the causes and consequences of food insecurity in the developing world, and the indirect economic impact on industrialized countries. We dissect the(More)