Crop Biotech Update

Sunflower Gene to Increase Soybean Yields

May 4, 2012

Researchers in Argentina have isolated a drought resistance gene from sunflower and spliced it into soybean, aiming to improve yields of the biggest cash crop in the country. Raquel Chan and her team have identified the HAHB4 gene that makes sunflowers resistant to dry conditions and implanted it in rockress flowering plants whose resistance to drought increased. An agreement with Argentina's Bioceres will allow Chan's team to exploit the gene as Bioceres has conducted previous tests on soybean, wheat, and corn.

When HAHB4 is inserted into soybean, wheat or corn, yields increased between 10 to 100 percent, depending on crop quality and local conditions. "The tougher the environment, the more advantageous the transgenic plant," said Chan, who heads the Agrobiotechnology Institute at the National University of the Coast.

The Argentinian government hopes to license the seeds by 2015, as supporters see a boost in soybean productivity in the country, particularly after a severe drought cut Argentina's soybean production by more than 30 percent.

For more information, read the news release at http://phys.org/news/2012-04-drought-resistant-argentine-soy.html.