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'Business as usual' crop development won't satisfy future demand
Date:7/7/2010

f ozone, soybean yields will decrease 1.5 bushels per acre," Ort said. "We are applying for funding to examine corn's sensitivity to ozone at SoyFACE, but a historical analysis indicates a significant sensitivity and yield loss."

In addition to generating results about the response of crops to global change, SoyFACE has provided proof of concept that adaptation of crop plants to global change can be achieved in the field. Ort believes that this approach can and needs to be scaled to much larger sizes necessary for conventional selective breeding.

Currently, only five FACE research facilities exist in the world. SoyFACE is the largest and most expansive in terms of number of global change factors under investigation. Researchers at SoyFACE are assisting in the development of additional FACE experiments in Brazil, India and Australia.

"FACE technology, coupled with revolutionary genomic tools, can markedly accelerate the breeding cycle," Ort said. "Once we discover the suites of genes that control the optimal response of plants growing in global change conditions, we can screen germplasm collections to narrow down hundreds of thousands of cultivars before testing the best ones in the field."

Ort said top priorities of focus include tropical areas that are already food insecure and areas such as the U.S. Corn Belt that produce a large percentage of the world food supply.

"More research in these areas is critical," he said. "How top-producing areas fare with climate change will be very important in determining global food security for the future."


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Contact: Jennifer Shike
jshike@illinois.edu
217-244-0888
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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