Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Understanding Dormancy in Rice Leads to Discovery

14.11.2008
A South Dakota State University scientist has demonstrated for the first time that a weed called red rice gets its seed color and its ability to remain dormant from the same gene.

That discovery has important implications for both rice-producing and wheat-producing regions. If red color and dormancy in wheat are controlled by a single gene, it could mean that it will be more difficult to handle pre-harvest sprouting in white wheat varieties, for example.

Red rice, or weedy rice, is a major weed in rice-growing regions. Extensive work by assistant professor Xing-You Gu in SDSU’s Department of Plant Science suggests that a single gene helps regulate more than one trait in red rice, including dormancy and seed coat color.

Gu said weedy rice causes problems for rice growers worldwide, in part because it germinates at a later time than domestic varieties of rice. That delayed germination is a reflection of the plant’s dormancy trait — the major focus of Gu’s research.

Like the pre-harvested seed-head shattering mechanism assures that the seed bank in the soil will be replenished before grain is harvested off the field, the dormancy trait is important for survival because it assures that seed will remain viable in the soil until conditions are right for germination.

“The question is, why is red rice so difficult to control in rice-growing areas?,” Gu said.

“Based on my recent research, red rice is not only a red pigmentation issue. This gene is a transcription factor participating in the regulation of many pathways that could enhance weedy rice’s adaptability.”

“Transcription factors” are proteins that are necessary to read and interpret genetic instructions in DNA. Gu said they act, for example, as part of the plant’s machinery to turn transcription of certain genes on or off to allow changes in the plant’s development.

Gu said the association of dormancy and red seed coat, or pericarp, color isn’t in itself surprising. Wheat breeders are aware of the connection, for example. But until now, scientists have not been sure whether a single gene or more than one is involved.

“In common wheat there is a report of association between seed dormancy and red seed coat color,” Gu said, adding that red-colored wheat varieties are more dormant than white varieties. That means red-colored varieties are also more resistant to pre-harvest sprouting — a major problem for growers of wheat varieties worldwide.

“The question we haven’t answered yet is if the dormancy genes and the red color genes are the same gene or two closely linked genes,” Gu said.

Gu said that if the genes are only closely linked in wheat, breeders could use genetic tools to dissect the genes and use the dormancy gene to improve white wheat varieties’ resistance to pre-harvest sprouting. If they’re the same gene, however, then there is absolutely no way to use the dormancy gene without also getting the red seed coat color.

“We haven’t done similar research in wheat, but based on our research in weedy rice, the gene that controls red color also controls seed dormancy,” Gu said. “Our research will have a possible impact on seed science and seed development.”

Gu said one focus of his work in the future will be to look for homologous genes — those that confer similar characteristics due to shared ancestry — in crops such as wheat and barley.

Gu said that if wheat is like red rice, then wheat breeders would have to search for additional dormancy genes independent of genes that also regulate red seed coat color in order to improve the resistance to pre-harvest sprouting of white-colored varieties.

A part of Gu’s work involves map-based cloning on major quantitative trait loci, or QTLs. A quantitative trait locus is a region of DNA, though not necessarily a gene, that is closely associated with an observable characteristic or trait.

Gu and his graduate students also do fine-mapping of QTLs by dissecting and identifying which subsection is responsible for seed dormancy. That research will help scientists and plant breeders everywhere understand which genes are involved.

“Seed dormancy is one of the most important biological mechanisms,” Gu said.

“The trait is important for seed-bearing plants, but of the detailed biological mechanism, we know very little.”

The National Science Foundation and the USDA National Research Initiative supported Gu’s seed dormancy research.

Jeanne Jones Manzer | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sdstate.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Researchers discover a new link to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production
14.02.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Important to maintain a diversity of habitats in the sea
14.02.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>