Gene could provide large wheat yields for a growing population

  • Food
  • June 15, 2024

A study from the University of Adelaide has found that molecular pathways regulated by a gene traditionally used to control the flowering behavior of wheat can be altered to achieve higher yields.

The gene is named Photoperiod-1 (Ppd-1) and is regularly used by breeders to ensure wheat crops bloom and set grain earlier in the season, avoiding the harsh conditions of summer. However, there are known disadvantages.

“While this variation benefits wheat productivity by tailoring pollination and grain development to more favorable environmental conditions, it also harms yield by reducing the number of grain-bearing florets and spikelets that form on wheat inflorescences,” says Dr. Scott Boden, a Future Fellow. at the University of Adelaide's School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

By examining genes whose expression is affected by Ppd-1Dr. Boden's research team has discovered two transcription factors that can be edited to influence the number and arrangement of grain-bearing spikelets that form on a wheat ear, as well as the timing of the spike's appearance.

“The deletion of one transcription factor, called ALOG1, increases branching in both wheat and barley, which normally form unbranched inflorescences, and suggests that this gene could be an important regulator of unbranched spikes in the Triticeae crop family,” says Dr. Boden.

“The knowledge gained will inform breeders about gene targets of Ppd-1for which we can use genetic diversity to design genotypes that may yield better yields.”

Dr. Boden's research team is now expanding its work with field trials at the university's Research Enclosure to test the performance of the gene-edited lines under field conditions.

Coincidentally, German researchers discovered a similar effect for the ALOG1 transcription factors in barley, providing exciting clues for the evolution of unbranched inflorescences of wheat and barley inflorescences, compared to those of rice and maize that show more extensive branching patterns.

Australia is the world's largest exporter of wheat, producing 36,237,477 tonnes of the crop in 2022 – the country's largest ever annual harvest.

“Wheat provides 20 percent of the calories and protein of the human diet, and scientists and breeders must find ways to increase grain yields from wheat by 60 to 70 percent by 2050 to maintain food security for the world's growing population,” says Dr Boden .

“Studies like ours are particularly important because they provide a list of gene targets that can be used with new technologies, such as transformation and gene editing, to generate new diversity that can help improve crop productivity.

“We expect that our research will lead to further discoveries of genes that control spikelet and floret development in wheat, thereby benefiting the development of strategies for improving the yield potential of wheat.”

Related Posts

  • Food
  • July 19, 2024
  • 3 views
  • 4 minutes Read
Food aroma research could help explain why meals in space taste bad

Scientists from RMIT University have conducted a world-first study of common food odours, which could explain why astronauts in space experience bland meals and struggle to eat their normal diets.…

  • Food
  • July 19, 2024
  • 3 views
  • 3 minutes Read
Groundcherry gets genetic upgrades: Garden wonder turns into agricultural powerhouse

Imagine a small fruit that tastes like a cross between a tomato and a pineapple, wrapped in its own natural paper lantern. That's the groundcherry (Physalis grisea) — a little-known…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

History of US Soccer at the Olympics: USWNT Success Defines Them, USMNT Returns After 16 Years

  • July 19, 2024
History of US Soccer at the Olympics: USWNT Success Defines Them, USMNT Returns After 16 Years

Chinese make their own cooking oil after scandal raises concerns

  • July 19, 2024
Chinese make their own cooking oil after scandal raises concerns

Connecting an antenna to a TV: watch movies, series and sports for free

  • July 19, 2024
Connecting an antenna to a TV: watch movies, series and sports for free

A Guide to Your Weekend Viewing and Reading Pleasure: NPR

  • July 19, 2024
A Guide to Your Weekend Viewing and Reading Pleasure: NPR

What You Need to Know About Airline Refunds and Delays

  • July 19, 2024
What You Need to Know About Airline Refunds and Delays

NFL kickoff rules for 2024 could create excitement…and chaos: 'It's going to be a show'

  • July 19, 2024
NFL kickoff rules for 2024 could create excitement…and chaos: 'It's going to be a show'

European markets: open to closed

  • July 19, 2024
European markets: open to closed

Investors are betting on the 'Trump trade'. Here's what it means.

  • July 19, 2024
Investors are betting on the 'Trump trade'. Here's what it means.

Scientists find new target for RSV drug

  • July 19, 2024
Scientists find new target for RSV drug

DOJ says largest housing provider for migrant children involved in widespread sexual abuse

  • July 19, 2024
DOJ says largest housing provider for migrant children involved in widespread sexual abuse

Video shows reclusive tribe searching for food on Amazon beach

  • July 19, 2024
Video shows reclusive tribe searching for food on Amazon beach