Biotech Updates

Oklahoma State University Scientists Wheat Gene Discovery to Increase Yields

May 5, 2021

Researchers at Oklahoma State University led by Liuling Yan have discovered and cloned the TaOGT1 gene in the popular Billings wheat variety. This gene discovery could mean larger yields for wheat producers, the researchers said.

The newly-discovered gene, considered a missing link in wheat's genetic puzzle, will enable researchers to fine-tune crop maturity for specific use: cattle grazing, grain-only, or short-season wheat. Without this fourth genetic piece, the other three pieces were not clear.

Dual-purpose wheat is both grazed by cattle and harvested for grain, and a significant challenge for producers with dual-purpose wheat is deciding when to remove cattle from a wheat pasture. OSU researchers have discovered earlier that the optimal stage for removing cattle from a wheat pasture is prior to the first hollow stem. Grazing past the first hollow stem decreased grain yield for producers. The TaOGT1 gene is one of several genes which control the transition of a wheat plant from its vegetative state to its reproductive growth stage. The discovery could help in breeding new varieties for adaptation to specific management systems, including the dual-purpose system.

For more details, read the article in the OSU News and Media.

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