Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'More Cavalier' plants could counter effects of climate change

17.12.2008
A leading UK plant scientist has called for the application of new in-depth data analysis of plants' natural control systems to enable plant breeders to develop varieties that are naturally less conservative.

'To develop varieties of crops that can produce high yield sustainably under changing climatic conditions we need to be able to override plants' natural tendency to batten down the hatches really hard when times are tough, and to hedge their bets when times are good,' said Professor Ottoline Leyser of the University of York.

Professor Leyser was speaking at a recent meeting of the Strategy Advisory Board* of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council - the major public funder of plant science research in the UK.

She told the meeting that plants are naturally conservative. Evolution has driven them to plan for the long term and adopt a cautious rate of growth in case things get really bad in the future. While this makes sense in the wild, said Professor Leyser, for crop plants we want varieties that will behave in a more 'cavalier fashion' and maintain a faster rate of growth in a range of environments, investing that growth specifically in plant parts of agricultural relevance.

Although 10,000 years of plant breeding has made significant inroads in modifying plant growth properties, sophisticated new information about plant genes and their functions provides exciting opportunities for plant breeders to tap into the unused potential of plants to maintain productivity, even in harsh conditions.

There is a tendency to assume that plants are growing as fast as they can given the resources available to them, but multiple lines of evidence now show that this is not the case. Plants have specific genes that limit growth, and quite simple changes in those genes can increase productivity. The trick, however, is to breed plants with more sophisticated combinations of these genes that will still respond to the environment, protecting themselves from harsh conditions, but in a more light-touch way. To do that, we need to understand how these genes work together as a system to regulate growth.

Professor Leyser said that one of the big challenges is to channel this information rapidly into large scale plant breeding.

* The Board advises BBSRC Council on its strategic priorities and planning, and brings together academic and industry based researchers.

Press Office | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

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...

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

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>