Navigation Links
Flower power
Date:11/26/2013

Chamomile is a medicinal plant used mainly in the treatment of stomach and intestinal diseases, including the field of veterinary medicine. Agricultural scientist Bettina Fhnrich from the Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds has been focusing on the genetics of chamomile (Matricaria recutita). She has been looking for chamomile varieties with a triploid (threefold) set of chromosomes instead of the natural diploid (double) set. Plants with the triploid form produce blooms that last longer and have a longer harvesting period. An additional advantage of a triploid variety of chamomile is that most of the seeds produced would be sterile. This slows down the reproductive cycle so that the plant would not germinate in the following season, when the farmer wants to grow another crop in the field. This means less chamomile has to be removed as a weed in subsequent years. But finding such a triploid variety did not turn out to be an easy task.

Chamomile is genetically conservative

Many plants change their number of chromosomes spontaneously and naturally it's an evolutionary process that enables them to adapt to external circumstances. Not so with chamomile, however. "It is very difficult to do research on chamomile because this species is rather conservative, in genetic terms. That means that it doesn't change its genetics easily. Other plants are much more flexible," Fhnrich explains. Producing triploid chromosome sets has become common practice when cultivating ornamental plants such as marigolds and begonias, but it proved harder in chamomile.

Developing a suitable chamomile cultivar

In the hope of finding one of these elusive triploid chamomiles, the scientists searched for spontaneous triploids in different varieties of the plant. Since the number of sets of chromosomes in plants can vary, the researchers hoped to find a triploid variety among them. However, when they screened naturally occurring diploid and artificially generated tetraploids (with fourfold chromosome sets), what they found in the tetraploids were frequent deviations from the expected set of chromosomes. It appears that the artificially mutated genomes in the tetraploids have a less stable genome than the natural forms; but even so, they did not produce any triploid varieties.

Investigating fertilization in chamomile

"If one wants to propagate plants successfully, it is vital to know how they reproduce," says Fhnrich. To find out, the chamomile geneticist analysed over 300 different varieties of chamomile plants from six different breeds, focusing on their capacity for fertilization. She crossed all these cultivars in both parental directions. The fertility of the pollen produced by the subsequent generation diminished significantly. The next step was to identify which crosses produced offspring that were almost infertile in pollen. These varieties would be the most promising for breeding, because they could be used as suitable mother lines for targeted plant crossing. Generally, there are plants that can only fertilize themselves, and then there are plants that only fertilize others. Some plants can do both. Determining the extent of these different types of fertilization was one of Fhnrich's research aims. For breeding, the researchers are looking for varieties that cannot do self-fertilisation, because these types could easily be crossed with specific father plants.

Research for herbal medicine

Herbal medicine has become increasingly important in recent years, and including the field of Veterinary Medicine. Chamomile is widely used in alternative medicine but is rarely grown in Austria. Currently, the majority of chamomile that is processed in Austria is imported from South America, Egypt and Eastern Europe. Therefore one of Fhnrich's aims is to make chamomile an attractive crop for Austrian and Central European farmers again.


'/>"/>

Contact: Heike Hochhauser
heike.hochhauser@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-1151
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings
2. Genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings revealed by scientists
3. Scientists discover switch in plants to create flowers
4. Supercharged safflower
5. Its in the genes: Research pinpoints how plants know when to flower
6. Blowing in the wind: How hidden flower features are crucial for bees
7. Gardeners delight offers glimpse into the evolution of flowering plants
8. CSHL-led team discovers new way in which plants control flower production
9. High-speed video and artificial flowers shed light on mysteries of hummingbird-pollinated flowers
10. Flower power to purge poison and produce platinum
11. Insect-eating bat outperforms nectar specialist as pollinator of cactus flowers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Flower power
(Date:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control ... right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... project, for the , Supply and Delivery of ... Infrastructure , to Decatur , ... Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in the tendering ... selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. The contract ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores ... 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital ... Sports Association to serve as their official health ... Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training ... association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... Sports Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a ... $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank ... automation and to advance its drug development efforts, as ... facility. "SVB has been an incredible strategic ... services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
Breaking Biology Technology: