Commentary: Time to fight the over-hype

A year ago, graduate student Merritt Khaipho-Burch Tweeted a reaction to an article about a gene described as enhancing yield, which led to lively on-line and in-the-lunchroom discussions about how to realistically measure yield, and, maybe more importantly, where to draw the line between potential and promise. Now, Khaipho-Burch and colleagues have published a set of recommendations for researchers, reviewers, and editors, to cast a more realistic and critical view towards research efforts to improve crop yields. Their five recommendations: Standard definition of yield; Broad replication; Farm-like conditions; Appropriate controls; and Priority to genes breeders might have missed. On this last point, the authors state, “If plant breeders have already worked with a gene for decades, it is extremely unlikely that it will suddenly deliver major yield gains.” Needless to say, this is a much-needed commentary that should be discussed at your next lab meeting. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Nature 10.1038/d41586-023-02895-w