Brian A. Larkins

University of Arizona

Primary Section: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 25, Plant Biology
Membership Type:
Member (elected 1996)

Research Interests

As a plant molecular biologist, my research has focused on the regulation of seed development and the synthesis of seed storage proteins. Storage proteins are the most abundant proteins in seeds, and as such, they are the principal determinants of the nutritional quality of grains. Storage proteins are generally deficient in several amino acids that are required in human and livestock diets. Consequently, increasing the levels of these essential amino acids has long been a goal of plant breeders and cereal chemists. We have used a molecular genetic approach to investigate the biology of seed storage protein synthesis and seed development. These studies have attempted to define the structure of storage proteins, the mechanisms by which they are synthesized and deposited in seed tissues, and the genes that regulate these processes. Most recently we have begun to determine the nature of the proteins that contribute the majority of essential amino acids in cereal seeds and develop genetic strategies for increasing their content.

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