Biotech Updates

Scientists Find Gene that Prevents Wheat from Preharvest Sprouting

August 22, 2013

Researchers from U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Kansas State University have found and cloned a gene in wheat named PHS that prevents the plant from preharvest sprouting. Preharvest sprouting happens when significant rain causes the wheat grain to germinate before harvest and results in significant crop losses.The study, which appears in the recent issue of the scientific journal Genetics will be most beneficial to white wheat production, having losses of about $1 billion annually because of preharvest sprouting.

Much of the work to isolate the PHS gene came from the researchers' efforts to fully sequence the genome of common wheat. With this, they were able to study sequenced segments of the common wheat genome and look for a naturally occurring resistance gene.

See Kansas State University's news release at