Critical plant gene takes unexpected detour that could boost biofuel yields

(DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory) For decades, biologists have believed a key enzyme in plants had one function — produce amino acids, which are vital to plant survival and also essential to human diets.But for Wellington Muchero, Meng Xie and their colleagues, this enzyme does more than advertised. They had run a series of experiments on poplar plants that consistently revealed mutations in a structure of the life-sustaining enzyme that was not previously known to exist.

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