Recent Posts

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…

Student-driven plant breeding symposium addresses global challenges in the 21st century

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This week we spoke to Francisco Gomez and Ammani Kyanam, graduate students in the Soil and Crop Science Department at Texas A&M University, USA. They were part of the organizing committee for the recent Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium, a successful meeting run entirely by students at the University.   Could…

Rapid breeding of parthenocarpic tomato plants using CRISPR/Cas9

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Most fruits form after pollination, making their production vulnerable to pollinator presence. Parthenocarpy is the development of fruit that occurs in the absence of pollination. Genes that enable parthenocarpy have been identified, including a tomato gene involved in auxin responses SlIAA9. Ueta et…

Review: Host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions for plant breeding ($)

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The idea that the microbes on and within an organism (the microbiota) influence an organism in positive, neutral and negative ways has been a hot topic in popular science, especially the role of the gut microbiota in human health and nutrition. Plants are similarly influenced by their microbiota, as…