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Crop Biotech Update

UCalgary Scientists Find Canola Protein Vital for Pollination

March 6, 2019

Scientists at the University of Calgary (UCalgary) discovered a canola protein with an important function in pollination. According to the researchers, the protein dubbed as phospholipase D1 (PLD1) could be used to develop more vigorous canola hybrids by speeding up pollination amidst challenging environmental conditions. Drs. Marcus Samuel and Sabine Scandola identified a number of unique proteins using a proteomics approach and showed that some have important functions both for pollination and for the biochemical process called self-incompatibility response. This particular response makes canola plants reject self-pollination and self-fertilization to prevent inbreeding. Inbreeding is detrimental for hybrid seed production because it weakens the genetic diversity and hybrid vigor. The researchers focused on PLD1 protein.

Using genetic engineering, they knocked down the expression of PLD1 in self-pollinated canola, which led to plants that do not accept their own pollens to fertilize themselves. Thus confirming the role of PLD1 in successful pollination. Through biochemical techniques, PDL1 was found to produce the phosphatidic acid liquid molecule in the female reproductive tissue that enables the pollen (male reproductive tissue) to establish on female parts of canola plants, leading to fertilization and seed reproduction.

Read the original article from the University of Calgary.