Crop Biotech Update

New Method to Predict Plant Size at Maturity Based on Genetic Markers

September 16, 2015
Belgian researchers at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) and Ghent University (UGent) have created a new method to predict a plant's size at maturity while it is still a seedling. The researchers studied the RNA molecules in the cell division region of the leaves of corn seedlings and associated the transcriptome with future physical properties of the plant such as final leaf size and biomass production.

This breakthrough will allow the acceleration of plant breeding programs. At present, a plant's yield cannot be determined until it is in its later stages, and breeding products must be manually infected with diseases to determine their resistance. Plant breeders can utilize this information to choose the most useful plants while they are still seedlings, which will save much time, labor, and money.

More information is available on the VIB website.