VIB-UGent Researchers Discover Gene that Increases Seed Yield in MaizeMarch 22, 2017
Researchers from VIB-UGent have discovered a gene that significantly increases plant growth and seed yield in maize. The results from laboratory research were confirmed during a two-year field trials conducted in Belgium and the U.S. showing that this gene can increase seed yield in maize hybrids by 10 to 15%. The results of the greenhouse and field trials are published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
VIB-UGent scientists, headed by Prof. Dirk Inzé and Dr. Hilde Nelissen, are conducting research into the molecular mechanisms behind leaf growth in maize. Leaf development is a blueprint for plant growth processes. Indeed, knowing how leaves grow provides a great deal of information about the growth of the plant as a whole. The researchers discovered a gene in maize, named PLA1, which significantly increases plant growth and size of plant organs such as leaves and cobs.
Scientific research at the cell level demonstrated that PLA1 extends the duration of plant growth. "Plants with the PLA1 trait, therefore, grow longer, meaning they become bigger and produce more seeds, which can be a benefit farmers", says Dr. Nelissen. Multi-seasonal field experiments, both in Belgium and the United States, have shown that PLA1 increases biomass and seed yield in maize inbred lines and hybrids. The field trials in Belgium were conducted in cooperation with Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research.
In the greenhouse, the researchers discovered that PLA1 plays a role in how plants cope with drought stress. The growth-enhancing PLA1 trait appeared to partly compensate for the growth reduction that normally occurs as a result of long periods of water shortage. These findings also offer a perspective for developing agricultural crops that guarantee stable yields even when the weather conditions are less favorable. In this way, new varieties of crops can help cope with the effects of climate change. Further research is now focused on finding out the molecular mechanisms that lie at the basis of increased yield.
The Crop Biotech Update is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a non-for-profit organization. The CBU is distributed for free to over 23,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in agricultural biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- NAS Releases Report on Preparing for Future Biotech Products
- East Africa Gears for Synthetic Biology
- Egypt Hosts the International Conference on Biotechnology and Environmental Safety
- Discovery by Researchers Could Help Increase Plant Yield Caused by Looming Phosphate Shortage
- International Research Team Discovers Gene that Resists Virus Causing Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease
- VIB-UGent Researchers Discover Gene that Increases Seed Yield in Maize
- European Chemicals Agency Says Glyphosate Not Carcinogenic
- Production of Antibacterial BP178 Peptide in Rice Seed Endosperm
- MADS-box Gene SlMBP11 Regulates Plant Architecture and Reproductive Development in Tomato
Plant Breeding Innovations
- Genome Reprogramming for Synthetic Biology
- Researchers Generate Nulliplex Polyploid Arabidopsis using CRISPR-Cas9
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Cell-Penetrating Peptide-Mediated Delivery of CRISPR-Cas9
- Being Human 2.0: SynBio LIVE
- The Story Behind the Approval of the First Bt Maize Product
- Synthetic Biology MOOC Teaches How to Make DIY DNA
Subscribe to CBU: