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Crop Biotech Update

New Multiple Gene Stacking Technique Could Develop Crops with Higher Yields and Better Traits

August 8, 2018

Scientist from the USDA Agricultural Research Service developed a new process that can be used to insert multiple genes into a crop plant, which can make it easier to breed a variety of crops with highly enhanced characteristics. The new process is reported in The Plant Journal.

The new process called GAANTRY gene stacking technology is expected to hasten the development of new varieties of potatoes, rice, citrus, and other crops with improved tolerance to heat and drought, produce higher yields, and resist a myriad of diseases and pests. The process includes stabilizing large "stacks" of DNA necessary to express vital characteristics, letting the researchers to insert suites of genes so precisely that no unintended DNA is added or removed during the process.

"Making genetic improvements that were difficult or impossible before will be much easier because we can now insert not just one or two genes, but multiple genes, into a plant in a way that will lead to predictable outcomes," said Roger Thilmony, a molecular biologist from ARS. "Before this, assembling 10 genes to insert into a new line would be difficult or impossible, but this technology basically stabilizes the stack and create results that are more stable and much easier to predict," Thilmony added.

Read more from USDA-ARS.