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Evolution Magazine


How are Proteins Linked to Human Obesity?

Scientists Added a Human Fat Gene to Potatoes Grow Bigger and Better Crops.

A team of Scientists experimenting with growing better crops found a surprising trick; adding the human gene related to obesity and fat mass into the plants to supersize their harvest.

According to Smithsonian Magazine reports, the potato plants with the human gene produced a fat-regulating protein called FTO. Which essentially alters the genetic code to rapidly mass-produce proteins FTO that made potato crops 50 percent larger.

The scientists said that their work helps fight global hunger by growing more food without using more space for agriculture. And without adding effect to its climate. Many scientists had spent a decade understanding the role of FTO in humans. The scientists wondered what would happen if this RNA-targeting, growth-promoting protein made its way into plants instead. FTO chemically improves RNA strands, which are the short-inherited recipes for individual proteins.

University of Chicago Chemist Chuan said that it was a bold and strange idea. In the Smithsonian Report, theco-author of a paper published in Nature Biotechnology said, “To be honest, we were likely expecting some catastrophic effects.”

In the Smithsonian report, chemists explained that plants don’t have a protein similar to FTO and that growth is preserved and controlled by a wide diversity of genes.“FTO comes in, and there is no limitation to where it can access,” He further told in publication. “It is a bomb.”

Still, it was surprising when those effects finish up producing “Bigger Better Potatoes” rather than “dead potato plants.”

If you’re dreaming of cooking that juicy better potato, you might need to put those thoughts on hold for the time being as the research is in an early stage for us to expect these gene hacked potatoes to hit our grocery store shelves soon. The team told Smithsonian that they want to conduct various safety and reproduction studies to make their horrific yield, not just a curiosity. Still, they’re uplift by what they’ve found so far.

“We think this is an immeasurable strategy to engineer our crops,” study co-author and Peking University chemical biologist Guifang Jia told Smithsonian.

Writer: Amina Kiani

Reported by: Imaaz Nadeem

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