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The MicroRNA156 system: A tool in plant biotechnology.

Aung, B., Gruber, M.Y., and Hannoufa, A. (2015). "The MicroRNA156 system: A tool in plant biotechnology.", Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology. doi : 10.1016/j.bcab.2015.08.002  Access to full text


The discovery of small RNAs in plants has opened a new field in the study of gene regulation, and its application in plant genetic engineering and crop improvement. Of small RNAs, plant microRNAs have been used to increase crop productivity and enhance other traits, such as crop quality and stress tolerance. MicroRNA156 (miR156) and its target SPL genes are highly conserved in the plant kingdom, and together they form an extensive gene regulatory network that controls various aspects of plant growth and development. These include strong impacts on crop yield and quality, flowering time, root development and nodulation, reproduction capacity, secondary metabolism, and plant stress. Here, we review the most recent understanding of miR156 function in plants, and highlight the major impact we are now seeing from its application to crop germplasm improvement and its prospects for future use in plant molecular breeding.

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