Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Gene Variants Found That Makes Bitter Crop Palatable

Researchers have homed in on a gene that makes a variety of white lupin, a high-protein crop that could be an alternative to soybeans, taste sweeter. Lupins, they note, typically accumulate quinolizidine alkaloids that give them a bitter taste, which has limited their adoption. But white lupin has limited quinolizidine alkaloid levels. As they report in Science Advances, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and elsewhere examine the pauper locus, which confers that sweetness. By studying three white lupin varieties — the wild Graecus that is bitter, a bitter Ethiopian landrace, and the sweet pauper cultivar Amiga — the researchers found that the locus encompasses an acetyltransferase gene. The Amiga cultivar harbored four variants in that gene that the others did not, and those variants affect acetyltransferase activity. In a larger panel of plants, one SNP in particular was never found in a bitter plant. Through a mutagenesis analysis of narrow-leafed lupin, a typically bitter variety, they could replicate the pauper chemotype. "The creation of a non-GMO, sweet narrow-leafed lupin line by knocking out the orthologous gene demonstrates the potential to kick-start the domestication of novel legume crops via similar strategies," the researchers add.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.