Biotech Updates

Adoption of Advanced Techniques Could Propel Crop Improvement

July 6, 2012

The journal Science published a perspective of Brian Dilkes, a Purdue assistant professor of genetics and Ivan Baxter, a research computational biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, on the utilization of advanced technologies for a deeper understanding of how plants can improve and cope with the changing environmental and climatic conditions.

Previous technologies have focused on one gene and one element relationships in solving soil problems. Current strategies point to one or more genes as responsible for some other soil problems. Thus, the two authors believe that a wider adoption of molecular phenotyping techniques such as ionomics and genome wide association mapping could be more efficient in assessing multiple elements and genes.

They defined genome-wide association mapping as a process which allow scientists to find genetic associations among multiple phenotypes, or physical traits, and ionomics as the study of elemental composition of plants and how those compositions change in response to environmental or genetic changes. Current research at Baxter's lab utilizes these techniques in their experiments enabling thousands of samples to be processed and studied.

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