More Vitamin E could come in maize with new genetic findings

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In New York, Cornell University scientists identified genes that control vitamin E content in maize grain, a finding that could lead to improving the nutritional profile of this staple crop. They identified 14 genes across the genome that were involved in the synthesis of vitamin E.

“We have established a near-complete foundation for the genetic improvement of vitamin E in grain of maize and other major cereals,” said Michael Gore, associate professor of plant breeding and genetics, in the Cornell press release.

“There has been talk, among breeders working to increase provitamin A in maize, that we could increase vitamin E at the same time,” said Christine Diepenbrock, a graduate student in Gore’s lab, and the paper’s first author, also in the press release. “They are related compounds biochemically, and tocochromanols are essential for seed viability in that they prevent seed oils from going rancid throughout seed storage, germination and early seedling development.”