Biotech Updates

Scientists Crack the Code for Bigger Barley Grains

January 17, 2024

Researchers from the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences and partners have identified a gene in barley that controls grain size and protein content. Their findings are reported in Plant Science.

Grain Width and Weight 2 (GW2) is a gene that controls cereals' size and weight. Switching off this gene may lead to improving crop productivity. In the study, the research team used CRISPR-Cas9 to deactivate GW2.1 in barley, leading to longer grains and better protein content and significantly reducing overall yield by limiting seed production. The same contrasting effects remained consistent across various growing conditions, indicating a delicate balance within the gene, influencing individual grain quality and overall crop output.

This discovery could help create barley varieties with higher nutritional value, but researchers need to find ways to overcome the yield decrease.

Read more in Plant Science.

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