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Crop Biotech Update

Green Revolution Genes Promise More Yield

August 23, 2017

A team of researchers at the John Innes Centre (JIC) led by Professor Robert Sablowski studied DELLA proteins which cause a range of growth responses in plants. Mutations in DELLA genes were selected by plant breeders during the green revolution to increase yield through reduced stem length.

The research details how selecting the mutation for shorter stems also resulted in a smaller inflorescence meristem, the growth zone where flowers form. Smaller growth zone results in fewer flowers and seeds, which is a key factor in crop yield potential. But the team showed how the effects can be separated.

Professor Sablowski said that separating the stem growth and meristem size effect could unlock further yield increases in widely-used varieties, and that their research means that plant breeders can now select new mutations that separate the desirable and undesirable traits conferred by DELLA proteins.

For more details about this research, read the article in JIC News and Events.