Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery Should Save Wheat Farmers Millions of Dollars

10.10.2013
Epigenetic factors identified as key to preventing loss of wheat caused by rain and high humidity (and should lead to better beer too).

The global wheat industry sometimes loses as much as $1 billion a year because prolonged rainfall and high humidity contribute to grains germinating before they are fully mature. The result is both a lower yield of wheat and grains of inferior quality.

This phenomenon, known as pre-harvest sprouting or PHS, has such important economic repercussions for farmers around the world that scientists have been working on finding a solution to the problem for at least a couple of decades. Their focus has been on genetic factors, and on the interaction between genotypes and the environment as they have tried to breed wheat that is resistant to PHS, but with little success so far.

But now, findings by a McGill team suggest that the solution may lie not with genetics alone, but rather with a combination of genetic and epigenetic factors. The team, led by Prof. Jaswinder Singh of McGill’s Department of Plant Science, has identified a key gene that acts as a switch to determine how a particular plant will respond to high humidity and excess rainfall by either germinating early (PHS) or not. This switch is to be found in a key gene, ARGONAUTE4_9, in the “RNA dependent DNA Methylation” pathway (RdDM).

“The complex RdDM machinery is composed of several proteins that guide the genome in response to growth, developmental and stress signals. It’s a bit like the plant’s brain,” says Singh. “Although in the past scientists have identified it as the pathway that regulates the way a variety of genes are expressed, until now no one had made the link with PHS.”

The McGill team made the discovery by using a variety of genomic and molecular tools to identify specific ARGONAUTE4_¬9 genes, and then compare the way that these genes are expressed in PHS resistant versus PHS susceptible varieties of wheat.

“This discovery is important for other cereals like barley as well as for wheat,” said Surinder Singh, a Ph.D. student and one of the authors of this study, currently working in Professor Singh’s laboratory. “This means that not only should we be able to avoid the ugly bread and sticky crumbs produced by PHS wheat in future, we should also end up with better beer. “

The research opens up a whole new area of exploration for scientists as they try to increase the yields of wheat and decrease losses due to excessively humid conditions. It should also save farmers and governments around the world significant amounts of money in the future.

The study, “Polymorphic homoeolog of key gene of RdDM pathway, ARGONAUTE4_¬9 class is associated with Pre-harvest Sprouting in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)” was just published in the journal “PLOS ONE”. To read the full article: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0077009

The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

To contact the researcher directly: Jaswinder.singh@mcgill.ca

Katherine Gombay | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>