Recent Posts

Rewiring of the fruit metabolome in tomato breeding

Cell. The tomato plant has been of keen interest to mankind for centuries, and its domestication led to delicious fruits much larger than their wild, bitter-tasting ancestors. Domestication of tomato had many intended outcomes (increased fruit size, less bitter taste), and several unintended consequences.…

Out of Uganda: An Aggressive Crop Killer That Threatens Global Food

Fungal disease in wheat crops has been a serious but controllable problem, but a newer strain of what’s called “stem rust” has scientists worried. January 8, 2018 by Kerstin Hoppenhaus & Sibylle Grunze The video below is the first part in a six-part series examining the scourge of Ug99,…

Speed breeding is a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding

Nat. Plants. The current rate of crop plant breeding, limited by the long generation time of crop plants, is insufficient to address the needs caused by the enormous increase in the human population accompanied by climate change. Watson et al. have recently presented a method called ‘Speed breeding’…

Review. Genomic selection in plant breeding: Methods, models, and perspectives

In future years, climate change may cause significant economic losses to countries worldwide. Consequently, genetic improvement of crops fit for drought-stressed and semi-arid regions is becoming a must. In this review, Crossa et al. assess the advances in genetic selection (GS) and genomic-enabled prediction…

Inhibition of RNA polymerase II allows controlled mobilization of retrotransposons for plant breeding

The lack of acceptance of GM-breeding calls for alternative strategies to develop new crop varieties to feed the world's growing population. Moreover, the regulation of novel approaches for genome editing (CRISPR, TALEN) is still unclear and will potentially remain so for the near future (or will likely…

High throughput phenotyping to accelerate crop breeding and monitoring of diseases in the field ($)

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High throughput phenotyping (HTP) is a frontier in plant biology. Shakoor et al. review the state of HTP and various levels of implementation, current limitations, and the new horizons for the field. Envirotyping – getting all the information possible from an individual plant in a field to fully understand…

Using Metabolism to Improve Maize Breeding

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Cañas et al. study the relationships between maize leaf metabolism and grain yield to identify putative markers for breeding http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/5/919 By Rafael A. Cañas, Peter J. Lea and Bertrand Hirel In crops, several metabolic pathways are involved in the control of biomass…

Speed breeding: a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding

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Watson and Ghosh et al. describe protocols to accelerate the lifecycle of several crop species using "speed breeding", which essentially involves extending the daylength to 22 hours with supplemental lighting. They describe methods and results from glasshouse and growth chamber speed breeding. In spite…

Review: Enhancing genetic gain in the era of molecular breeding ($)

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Yield is determined by the crop’s genetic potential and the realization of that potential as affected by agronomic practices and environmental factors. Xu et al. address how yields can be improved through enhancing genetic gain, which they define as “the amount of increase in performance that is…