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Crop Biotech Update

DOG1-like Gene Overexpression Provide Control of Seed Dormancy in Cereals

April 23, 2014

Seed dormancy is a very tricky agronomic trait. It plays a primary role in the different life cycles of annual plants, and thus is an important adaptive trait. However, many wheat (Triticum aestivum) cultivars lack a sufficient level of seed dormancy and are vulnerable to premature seed germination of mature grains. On the other hand, barley (Hordeum vulgare) has too great a level of dormancy which prevents rapid and uniform germination. A certain optimal balance between the two extremes of dormancy is a valuable trait for agricultural production.

The DOG1 gene is an Arabidopsis gene that underlies natural variation in seed dormancy. Meanwhile, the DOG1-like gene, found in cereals, functions similarly as DOG1 gene based on previous studies. In this recent study, two DOG1-like genes, TaDOG1L4 from wheat and HvDOG1L1 from barley, were introduced individually into the wheat cultivar Fielder. Their overexpression enhanced the seed dormancy level of the transgenics while leaving other traits unaffected. TaDOG1L4 was then found to be more effective than HvDOG1L1I in enhancing dormancy. Knock down of TaDOG1L4 gene in Fielder using double-strand RNA interference also decreased the seed dormancy level in transgenic Fielder.

Read the research article at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11248-014-9800-5/fulltext.html.