Plant Science

Tolerating aluminum

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Science  05 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6201, pp. 1132
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6201.1132-d

Harvesting sorghum in West Africa

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP

Sorghum bicolor can tolerate hot and dry conditions, which makes it an important grain in West Africa. But low phosphorus and high aluminum concentrations in soil there impede its growth. Leiser et al. studied sorghum varieties in West Africa and discovered a region in the sorghum genome that allowed plants to tolerate both aluminum toxicity and low amounts of phosphorus. The authors hypothesized that aluminum toxicity activates a key gene that may have the felicitous side effect of helping the plant use phosphorus more efficiently.

BMC Plant Biol. 14, 206 (2014).

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