Navigation Links
University of Illinois research makes plant breeding easier

University of Illinois research has resulted in the development of a novel and widely applicable molecular tool that can serve as a road map for making plant breeding easier to understand. Researchers developed a unified nomenclature for male fertility restorer (RF) proteins in higher plants that can make rapid advancements in plant breeding.

"Understanding the mechanism by which RF genes suppress the male sterile phenotype and restore fertility to plants is critical for continued improvements in hybrid technology," said Manfredo J. Seufferheld, U of I assistant professor of crop sciences.

To reach this goal, Seufferheld teamed up with post-doctoral researchers Simeon O. Kotchoni and Emma W. Gachomo of Purdue University, and Jose C. Jimenez-Lopez of the Estacion Experimental del Zaidin, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) in Granada, Spain, to develop a simplified genetic-based nomenclature that automatically catalogues the entire RF gene products into families and subfamilies.

"Up to now, there has been no unified nomenclature for naming the RF proteins," Seufferheld said. "As the systematic sequencing of new plant species has increased in recent years, naming has been simply arbitrary. We have had 'chaos' in the databases. The RF information in the databases could not be adequately handled in the context of comparative functional genomics."

This new tool will help plant breeders and scientists make decisions more quickly. Breeders can now easily match sterility in plants to male restorer mechanisms. Ultimately, growers may benefit sooner from new developments in plant breeding since breeders will be able to generate new hybrids at a faster pace, Jimenez-Lopez said.

"Genomic sequencing, coupled with protein modeling, allowed us to begin dismantling this complexity that has held us back in the field of science," Kotchoni said. "Now we can easily compare unknown gene functions to known and well characterized genes in order to determine their functions and family hood."

With many teams of researchers competing to finish this task first, Kotchoni said it has been an honor to have this model accepted as the new standard for RF protein nomenclature. This system has been developed as a building block for plant genomics.

"The nomenclature, which is designed to include new RF genes as they become available in the future, is not based on one species or another, but rather on the function of the gene itself," Seufferheld said. "This allows scientists to work with a wide range of plants and take a gene with known function(s) from one plant and transfer it into another plant to restore male fertility."

Corn growers only need to look back to the southern corn leaf blight epidemic in 1972 to see the importance of this scientific development.

In 1972, Texas-Cytoplasm Male Sterility (T-CMS) corn was heavily used in hybrid seed production because it eliminated the costly practice of hand detasseling. Nearly 85 percent of the U.S. corn crop was produced using T-CMS, which was highly susceptible to Helminthosporium maydis, the fungus that causes southern corn leaf blight.

Since then, understanding the function of RF genes in higher plants has been a priority of many researchers. "The first male sterility restorer ever characterized in plants was maize ALDH," Kotchoni said. "When this gene is altered, it causes male sterility."

Seufferheld said this will also be a great tool for studying plant evolution.

"We can follow how plants became domesticated," Seufferheld said. "It is easier now because we have all the structures of the RF proteins organized and can look at the evolution of these proteins in a systematic manner. If we just look at the sequence of the gene, part of the phylogenetic scene has been lost through evolution. However, the structure of protein provides more information that can go well into the past."

This public gene database will allow scientists to search using the old or new names of RF proteins, Seufferheld said.


Contact: Jennifer Shike
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Related biology news :

1. Metabolic cost of human sleep deprivation quantified by University of Colorado team
2. Tech firm joins the billion dollar club -- with university help
3. University of Minnesota discovery suggests a new way to prevent HIV from infecting human cells
4. When it comes to selecting a mate, the eyes have it: Queens University study
5. Boston University School of Medicine professor receives AACCs Van Slyke Award
6. Experts converge at Arizona State University for first preventive cancer vaccine conference
7. University of Miami marine biology student wins Emmy Award for work on Changing Seas
8. University of Illinois awarded National Science Foundation grant to mentor Latino students
9. Montana State University paleontologist receives major award for protecting fossils on federal land
10. Snow from space: University of Leicester releases satellite images of snow-bound UK
11. $5.1 million Army-Md. alliance speeds university research to market
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
University of Illinois research makes plant breeding easier
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted to ... of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share rose ... was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to exceed ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... CHICAGO , April 15, 2016  A ... companies make more accurate underwriting decisions in a ... offering timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance ... health screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid ... and lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016 ... ) ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange is ... users of its soon to be launched online site ... ) will also provide potential shareholders ... of DNA technology to an industry that is notorious ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis ... Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 ... single and multiple ascending dose studies designed to ... (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... (SC) either as a single dose (ranging from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the NASDAQ ... Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish at ... has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity Pharmaceuticals ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARLZ ... Learn more about these stocks by accessing their free trade ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division of ... and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing Technology ... among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and distribution, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... partnership that will allow them to produce up ... (HiPSC) from one lot within one week. These ... their time laboriously preparing cells and spend more ... made possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process ...
Breaking Biology Technology: