Biotech Updates

Purdue Scientist Investigates Role of Steroids in Plant Height and Sex Determination

December 2, 2011

Purdue University scientist Burkhard Schulz took off the natural steroids in corn to understand the relationship between these steroids and plant architecture, specifically plant height. He believes that making corn shorter and sturdier could be beneficial in corn production.

Results of his study revealed that mutated corn plants that do not produce brassinosteroids could become dwarfs. Aside from that, the plants also failed to produce male organs so they had female kernels on the part where male tassels should be present. This discovery could help the seed industry by producing corn with female organs only and thus eliminate the detasseling step.

Schulz is also studying other crops such as sorghum, to check if the same gene and pathways are involved in controllign sex determination and height.

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