Biotech Updates

Chance Finding in Guelph Study Could Transform Future of Plant Production

May 25, 2016

University of Guelph researchers had an almost accidental discovery that could transform food and biofuel production and increase carbon capture on farmland.

The team found that by tweaking a plant's genetic profile, plant growth and seed production increased by more than 400 percent. They studied Arabidopsis and found that inserting a particular corn enzyme caused the plant's growth rate to skyrocket.

Prof. Michael Emes of University of Guelph said that the team's findings could boost the yields of important crops such as soybean and canola, as well as camelina, largely grown for biofuels. When they studied the enzyme's effect on starch, the researchers noticed that their genetically engineered plants looked different and much larger than previously grown plants. The researchers plan to test this enzyme in canola and other crops.

For more information, read the news release at the University of Guelph website.