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Scientists Pinpoint Gene That May Boost Wheat Yield
Thursday, 2024/06/13 | 08:03:46

ISAAA June 5, 2024

Figure: Wheat spike from alog1 mutant, additional spikelets highlighted in pink (top); normal spike without the edited gene (bottom). Photo Source: The University of  Adelaide


Researchers from the University of Adelaide revealed that modifications in molecular pathways controlled by a gene involved in flowering could boost yields in wheat. Their findings are discussed in the Current Biology journal.


The gene, Photoperiod-1 (Ppd-1), are regularly harnessed by breeders to make sure wheat plants flower and set grain early to avoid harsh summer conditions. However, this technique leads to fewer florets and spikelets, thus impacting yield. This concern led Dr. Scott Boden and team to a discovery that can help design genotypes with better yield.


Two transcription factors were edited, which led to the change in the number and arrangement of grain-bearing spikelets that form on a wheat ear and the timing of ear emergence. According to Dr. Bodden, when one transcription factor (ALOG1) was deleted, there was increased branching in both wheat and barley, indicating that the gene could potentially be a major regulator of unbranched spikes in the Triticeae family of crops.


The research team is conducting field tests to evaluate the performance of the gene-edited wheat lines.


Read more from the University of Adelaide Newsroom.


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