Navigation Links
Greatest thing since sliced bread: New data offer important clues toward improving wheat yields
Date:3/10/2009

Breed a better crop of wheat? That's exactly what a team of researchers from Kansas State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture hope their research will lead to. In their study, appearing in the March 2009 issue of the journal GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org), they analyzed the type of wheat commonly used to make bread in an effort to understand why it is versatile enough to be used around the world and across different climates. This analysis provides important insights into why its genetic structure gives it a tremendous advantage over other competing species. Further, their analysis provides an important first step toward improving wheat crop yields to levels that can support ever-growing populations of people.

Unlike people who have only two copies of each geneone from each parentplants used for bread wheat have six copies of each genethree copies are inherited from each "parent." Just as is the case with people, these gene copies work in concert to produce characteristics and traits that allow the plant to survive and thrive. Understanding gene expression in wheat is complex, not only because there are so many variants of each gene which could be active at different times, but as the study shows, combinations of different genes may be active to produce entirely different plant characteristics than what each individual gene could on its own.

The researchers found that more than 1 in every 10 genes may be affected by the phenomenon, and that this is likely to be the cause of why the wheat used for bread is remarkably hearty. Furthermore, they found that a relatively high percentage (1.7 percent) of genes may be candidates for further study and selective breeding when trying to develop new strains of wheat with higher yields or more resistant to the environmental strain brought about by global warming.

"With the human population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, we must increase wheat yield at the rate of 2 percent per year per unit area," said Bikram S. Gill of Kansas State University, and the senior scientist involved in the study. "Wheat is a human staple that holds the key for better quality of life for billions."

To conduct this analysis, the authors attempted to recreate the evolutionary events leading to the spontaneous origin of bread wheat in nature. To do this, they crossed a diploid and tetraploid progenitor species and formed a synthetic strain of wheat in the laboratory. Then they simultaneously measured genetic expression of thousands of genes in the parent strains and the synthetic wheat offspring using a gene chip. The data then was used to test the commonly held notion that all wheat characteristics are simply different genes expressing themselves rather than some characteristics coming from a complex series of gene interactions.

"This paper is a beautiful example of yet another source of genetic variation that has led to the astounding diversity of life," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal GENETICS. "The authors show that our ancestors, in their quest to feed themselves, exploited variation in the expression of genes in hybrid wheat. The need to foster sustainable agriculture remains unabated, and the authors here make an important contribution toward understanding a crop critical to our existence. This research gives entirely new meaning to 'wonder bread.'"


'/>"/>

Contact: Tracey DePellegrin Connelly
td2p@andrew.cmu.edu
412-268-1812
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Woody and aquatic plants pose greatest invasive threat to China
2. New report: Greatest value of forests is sustainable water supply
3. Rhythmic breathing adapts to external beat through brain calculus
4. Ragweed research is nothing to sneeze at
5. Sunbathing tree frogs future under a cloud
6. Fuel cells help make noisy, hot generators a thing of the past
7. Salt-tolerant gene found in simple plant nothing to sneeze at
8. Possible link between baby swimming and breathing problems in children
9. Everythings coming up corals
10. Anything but modest: The mouse continues to contribute to humankind
11. Nothing stops an expert in the art of living
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/12/2017)... PUNE, India , January 12, 2017 A new report ... 2022," projects that the global biometric technology market is expected to generate revenue of ... Continue Reading ... Allied ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140911/647229) ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... 2017  Delta ID Inc., a leader in consumer-grade ... automotive at CES® 2017. Delta ID has collaborated with ... the use of iris scanning as a secure, reliable ... in a car, and as a way to elevate ... Delta ID and Gentex will demonstrate (booth #7326 ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... 2016 SuperCom (NASDAQ:   ... the e-Government, Public Safety, HealthCare, and Finance sectors announced today that ... selected to implement and deploy a community-based supportive services program to ... , further expanding its presence in the state. ... This new program, which is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... ... RURO has enhanced the platform to accommodate increasingly complex and sophisticated deployments, ... searching, and more. In addition to these improvements, the latest release brings ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) , ... January 11, ... ... collaborative approach to support fertility specialists with accurate and reliable preimplantation genetic screening ... and we have achieved excellent results,” says Ovation Fertility Genetics Scientific Director ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... ... January 11, 2017 , ... Photonics ... and photonics , are commending the U.S. Congress and President Obama for their ... the President of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA). , The language ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... Yorba Linda, Ca (PRWEB) , ... January 11, ... ... in the U.S. each year and costing healthcare systems more than $23.7 billion, ... patients while controlling costs. , Among the most common sepsis-causing pathogens are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: