Crop Biotech Update

Overexpression of Moss Gene in Cotton Enhances Yield and Fiber Quality

February 6, 2019

To respond to abiotic stresses, plants have evolved complex molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms. In tortula moss (Syntrichia caninervis), ALDH21 gene plays a role in responding to abiotic stresses, and overexpression of this gene in tobacco and cotton improved tolerance to drought and salt stresses. Thus, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and partners developed transgenic ScALDH21 cotton and tested if it is suitable for cultivating under water deficit conditions.

Results showed that overexpression of ScALDH21 in cotton led to higher net photosynthetic rate, less cellular damage, more cellular protective compounds, and enhanced growth compared with non-transgenic cotton under drought stress in managed treatment plots. The yield of the transgenic cotton plants under water deficit conditions was shown to be higher than the yield of non-transgenic cotton in full irrigation conditions. Furthermore, the fiber quality of transgenic cotton was improved.

Based on the findings, it was concluded that transgenic ScALDH21 cotton has the potential to improve crop yields in water-limited agricultural production systems.

For more details, read the article in Crop Science.