Recent Posts

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…

Review: Revolutions in agriculture chart a course for targeted breeding of old and new crops ($) (Science)

A few traits are associated with domestication across many species. Eshed and Lippman provide an overview of the changes to plant stature and flowering time that have been repeatedly selected by our ancestors. By comparing the molecular underpinnings of these traits across crops, it becomes clear that…

Opinion: Towards lowering crop N requirement (Plant Cell Environ)

Current and future food production demands a lot of nitrogen (N) fertilizers. Inefficient N fertilization leads to N losses to the environment and generates greenhouse gases that cause environmental problems. In a recent article, Swarbreck and colleagues discuss a strategy to develop crop varieties with…

Development of drought tolerant breeding lines derived from Helianthus annuus × H. argophyllus interspecific crosses (Plant Breeding)

Due to climate change, drought stress is threatening sunflower yield, and phenotypic diversity could be the solution. Here Hussain et al. studied the introgression of silver canopy traits related to lower excised leaf water loss (high cuticular waxes, intense hairiness, and smaller leaf area) from the…

GmFT2a and GmFT5a collectively controls flowering of soybean (Plant Biotech. J)

Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] is a globally important high-protein crop, whose breeding is an ongoing, important objective for plant biologists. Since soybean is a short-day plant, controlling flowering time is a key step to influence its adaptation to diverse latitudes and farming system. Recently,…

Breeding improves wheat productivity under contrasting agrochemical input levels (Nature Biotech.)

Wheat breeding programs are releasing new cultivars almost every year for improved yield potential. But is this intensive breeding not compromising the plant performance under adverse environmental conditions? Voss-Fels et al. studied the elite cultivars of winter wheat released during the last 50 years,…

High resolution mapping of RphMBR1012 conferring resistance to Puccinia hordei in barley (Front Plant Sci)

Barley leaf rust (Puccinia hordei) is a biotrophic fungus, in which mutations cause newly virulent races (pathothypes) with severe effects on cultivars. Marker-assisted Selection for Rph (Resistance to P. hordei) genes has been studied to provide sustainable control of this disease. Fazlikhani et al.…