To study the organization, copy number and control of expression of genes specifying high-lysine proteins in barley. This will enable us to answer three questions. (1) How many genes encode the high-lysine proteins in the seed? (2) Is there any difference in gene number between cultivars? (3) How are the high-lysine proteins controlled in the high-lysine barley mutants?
Though several cereals may be produced in excess within the European Community (EC) their protein content and quality, mainly determined by their amino acid composition, leads to a situation where still considerable import takes place. In this situation improvement of protein quality is highly required. To some extent this can be attained by balanced fertilizer applications; potentially more progress may be expected from plant breeding programmes.
A study was made of the gene locations where the high lysine inhibitors are located with linked work considering the gene expression. There are still major difficulties in the reincorporation by genetic engineering of desirable genes into crop plants especially in monocotyledons.
Plant material was grown in the fields at Rothamsted. Laboratory investigations were done using: RNA isolation, translation and product analysis, RNA analysis by Dot and Northern blots; DNA isolation, restriction, electrophoresis and analysis by Southern blots; DNA plasmid preps., restriction fragment purification and labelling using 32P. Cloning and sequencing of restriction fragments.
Some of the experiments were performed in the laboratory of Dr. L. Munck in Copenhagen. The results complemented previous observations. A joint publication is in preparation.