A recent paper published in PNAS by Ling Li and Eve Wurtele, in collaboration with Paul Scott, and Yanhai Yin research groups, is now Paper of the Month highlighted by TAIR.This paper presents our first understanding of the mechanism of action of QQS, an "orphan gene" unique to Arabidopsis, and demonstrates the functionality of QQS across species. In Arabidopsis, QQS has been shown to regulate carbon and nitrogen allocation between proteins and carbohydrates in the leaves and seeds. Expression of QQS in soybean, maize, and rice was found to increase the protein content in all cases. This exciting finding provides a new strategy for improving the protein content of crops. For more information, check out the ISU news report or go straight to the source The QQS orphan gene regulates carbon and nitrogen partitioning across species via NF-YC interactions.