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Trends Plant Sci. 2004 Dec;9(12):597-605.

Can less yield more? Is reducing nutrient input into the environment compatible with maintaining crop production?

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Department of Biological Sciences, G-425, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9.


Plant scientists have long recognized the need to develop crops that absorb and use nutrients more efficiently. Two approaches have been used to increase nutrient use efficiency (NUE) in crop plants. The first involves both traditional breeding and marker-assisted selection in an attempt to identify the genes involved. The second uses novel gene constructs designed to improve specific aspects of NUE. Here, we discuss some recent developments in the genetic manipulation of NUE in crop plants and argue that an improved understanding of the transition between nitrogen assimilation and nitrogen recycling will be important in applying this technology to increasing crop yields. Moreover, we emphasize the need to combine genetic and transgenic approaches to make significant improvements in NUE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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