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New Technique to Help Plant Breeders Develop Drought Resistant Varieties Faster
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: December 18, 2017 05:37AM

Scientists from the Canadian Light Source (CLS) have teamed up with
researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to develop a new
technique to examine drought tolerance in wheat. Led by Chithra Karunakaran
and Karen Tanino, the team developed a simple non-destructive method to
screen hundreds of wheat leaf samples in a day, reducing the time and cost
associated with traditional breeding programs to select varieties for
drought tolerance.

Using the wax of a flag leaf as their test subject, the research team
examined the morphological characteristics of the plant, as well as the
chemical signatures, comparing the drought-resistant Stettler wheat variety
to the Superb, which is more vulnerable to drought conditions.

With the help of the bright light produced at the CLS, Karunakaran and her
team were the first to link micro and macronutrients in the leaves for their
ability to tolerate drought, finding higher levels of zinc in the
drought-resistant Stettler. These results have significant implications for
future breeding programs, and also raise questions about the role of zinc in


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