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Increasing seed size and quality by manipulating BIG SEEDS1 in legume species

Liangfa Ge, Jianbin Yu, Hongliang Wang, Diane Luth, Guihua Bai, Kan Wang, Rujin Chen
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2016 v.113 no.44 pp. 12414-12419
Glycine max, Medicago truncatula, agronomic traits, amino acid composition, cell proliferation, crops, dietary protein, domestication, gene expression regulation, genes, leaves, microRNA, models, oils, plant organs, pods, seed quality, seed size, seeds, soybeans, transcription factors, weight
Plant organs such as seeds are primary sources of food for both humans and animals. Seed size is one of the major agronomic traits that have been selected in crop plants during their domestication. Legume seeds are a major source of dietary proteins and oils. Here, we report a novel and conserved role for BIG SEEDS1 (BS1) gene in the control of seed size and weight in the model legume Medicago truncatula and the grain legume soybean (Glycine max). BS1 encodes a plant-specific transcription regulator and plays a key role in the control of the size of plant organs, including seeds, seed pods and leaves, through a regulatory module that targets primary cell proliferation. Importantly, down-regulation of BS1 orthologs in soybean by an artificial microRNA significantly increased soybean seed size, weight and amino acid content. Our results provide a new strategy for the increase of yield and seed quality in legumes.