Recent Posts

REVIEW: Multi-parent populations in crops: a toolbox integrating genomics and genetic mapping with breeding (Heredity)

Biparental populations (BPPs) obtained by crossing two diverse inbred lines have long been used for dissecting the complex traits owing to their simplicity, ease of development and high power of detecting QTLs with a few hundred markers genotyped. Nonetheless, poor resolution and low genetic diversity…

Improvement of predictive ability in maize hybrids by including dominance effects and marker x environment models ($) (Crop Sci.)

Heterosis is phenomenon that occurs when crossbred individuals show qualities (such as such as size, growth rate, fertility, and yield) that are superior to those of both parents. In maize, heterosis can be explained in terms of hybrid vigor, and this has been well studied using traditional breeding.…

A gene knock-out that leads to seedless parthenocarpic fruits in Solanaceae plants ($) (PNAS)

Parthenocarpy, or the ability to make fruit without fertilization, is desirable for many reasons including the opportunity to make seedless fruits and a greater resiliency in crop production in the face of climate change. Matsuo et al. identified a new gene involved in parthenocarpy, starting with a…

Allelic mutations in the Ripening-inhibitor (RIN) locus generate extensive variation in tomato ripening ($) (Plant Physiol)

Ripened fruits attract animals to eat and disperse seeds, allowing propagation. Slowing down the fruit ripening process is often used commercially to decrease damage during transport and extend shelf life. Molecular (increased pigment, aroma, and flavor) and physiological (softened flesh) changes of…

Review. Gossypium genomics: Trends, scope, and utilization for cotton improvement (Trends Plant Sci)

Cotton (Gossypium spp.) provides the world’s most important natural fiber, and I suspect with our growing realization of the problems with plastics there will be still more demand for it. Yang et al. review the current state of Gossypium genomics. As a crop that has been domesticated for millennia,…

Reciprocal cybrids reveal how organellar genomes affect plant phenotypes (Nature Plants)

A cybrid is a cytoplasmic hybrid; in other words, a cell or organism in which the cytosolic genomes (mitochondria and plastid) have a different origin than the nuclear genome; the nuclear genome is inherited solely from the paternal parent, and the cytosolic genomes from the maternal parent. Starting…

Review: The impact of synthetic biology for future agriculture and nutrition

The synthetic biology field is going to be important for the decade we began in order to face climate challenges, including food security. However, plant synthetic biology lags behind bacterial and other eukaryotic systems. Roell and Zurbriggen summarize in this review, many of the projects that are…

Review: Genebank genomics bridges the gap between the conservation of crop diversity and plant breeding (Nature Genetics)

Crop diversity is fundamental to safeguarding global food security. The high-yielding, input-responsive cultivars developed post-green revolution led to the replacement of traditional landraces that harbour beneficial genes and alleles governing biotic and abiotic stress resistance and nutritional quality…

Replaying the evolutionary tape to investigate subgenome dominance in allopolyploid Brassica napus (bioRxiv)

Following interspecific hybridization, one of the two parental genomes (aka subgenomes) tends to become dominant (more highly retained and expressed). What determines which of the subgenomes will become dominant, or is it random? To explore this question, Bird et al. made several crosses between Brassica…