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Gene could unlock big wheat yields for a growing population
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: June 07, 2024 04:41PM

Researchers from the University of Adelaide revealed that modifications in
molecular pathways controlled by a gene involved in flowering could boost
yields in wheat. Their findings are discussed in the Current Biology

The gene, Photoperiod-1 (Ppd-1), are regularly harnessed by breeders to make
sure wheat plants flower and set grain early to avoid harsh summer
conditions. However, this technique leads to fewer florets and spikelets,
thus impacting yield. This concern led Dr. Scott Boden and team to a
discovery that can help design genotypes with better yield.

Two transcription factors were edited, which led to the change in the number
and arrangement of grain-bearing spikelets that form on a wheat ear and the
timing of ear emergence. According to Dr. Bodden, when one transcription
factor (ALOG1) was deleted, there was increased branching in both wheat and
barley, indicating that the gene could potentially be a major regulator of
unbranched spikes in the Triticeae family of crops.

The research team is conducting field tests to evaluate the performance of
the gene-edited wheat lines.


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