Inactivating Genes Boosts Crop Genetic DiversityDecember 5, 2018
Researchers from the Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) and National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in France recently showed that inactivating a gene, RECQ4, leads to a three-fold increase in recombination in crops such as rice, pea, and tomato. The gene was found to inhibit the exchange of genetic material via recombination (crossover) during the sexual reproduction process in crops. This discovery could speed up plant breeding and development of varieties better suited to specific environmental conditions (disease resistance, adaptation to climate change).
Recombination is a natural mechanism common to all organisms that reproduce sexually. The chromosome mix determines the genetic diversity of species. The plant breeding practiced for the past 10,000 years involved crossing two plants chosen for their complementary worthwhile characters. For instance, to obtain a new tomato variety that is both tasty and pest- or disease-resistant, breeders cross and breed, via successive recombinations. However, this is a lengthy process, as very few recombinations occur during reproduction. To find out what limits the number of recombinations, researchers from INRA identified and studied the genes involved in controlling recombination in Arabidopsis. They discovered that one gene, RECQ4, is particularly effective at preventing crossing-over. Researchers examined three agriculturally valuable species: pea, tomato, and rice, and they succeeded. They found that by "switching off" RECQ4, they trebled, on average, the number of crossovers, resulting in greater chromosome shuffling, hence increased diversity, with each generation.
More details are available in the news article from CIRAD.
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
- FAO DG Calls for Countries to Address All Forms of Malnutrition
- Governments Set Targets for Biodiversity Conservation by 2050
- Uganda Parliament Passes GMO Bill
- Research Finds Autophagy's Remarkable Influence on Plant Metabolism
- Guatemala and Honduras Send Draft Biotechnology Regulation to WTO
- Colombia Open to Biotech Adoption; Continues to Work through Regulatory Challenges
- International Team Discovers Why Plants "Live Fast and Die Young"
- Inactivating Genes Boosts Crop Genetic Diversity
- PAC1 Overexpression Improves Multiple Virus Resistance of Soybean
- Scientists Reveal How Plants Sense Temperature
Plant Breeding Innovations
- Researchers Use CRISPR-Cas9 for Gene Editing of Cavendish Banana
- Gene-edited Rice Shows BIG Gene Vital for Seedling Viability
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Study Identifies Geographic Origins of Hazelnuts
- New Research Could Fine-tune CRISPR
- 20 Years of GMOs in Brazil
- Updated ISAAA Infographics: Where are Biotech Crops Grown in the World?
Subscribe to CBU: