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Crop Biotech Update

Temperature Resilient Crops Now an "Achievable Dream"

February 14, 2018

A new study reveals that breeding temperature resilient crops can now be achieved. A research conducted at John Innes Centre (JIC) has established a genetic link between increased temperature and the problem of "pod shatter" (premature seed dispersal) in oilseed rape. The research, led by Dr. Vinod Kumar and Professor Lars Østergaard, reveals that pod shatter is enhanced at higher temperature across diverse species in the Brassicaceae family which also includes cauliflower, broccoli, and kale.

To study the effects of temperature on seed dispersal, Dr. Xinran Li, a postdoctoral researcher, monitored fruit development in Arabidopsis at three different temperatures 17, 22 and 27 degrees centigrade. This showed that cell wall stiffened at the tissue where pod shatter takes place, was enhanced by increasing temperature, and occurs across the Brassicaceae family, including oilseed rape.

The team established the genetic mechanism which organizes plant response to higher temperatures. Previous studies have shown that pod shatter is controlled by a gene called INDEHISCENT (IND). This study reveals that IND is under the control of a thermo-sensory mechanism in which a histone called H2A.Z is a key player.

For more, read the JIC News.