Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetics may lie at the heart of crop yield limitation

05.07.2017

You might think that plants grow according to how much nutrition, water and sunlight they are exposed to, but new research by Dr Nick Pullen and a team from the John Innes Centre, UK shows that the plant's own genetics may be the real limiting factor.

"This could have potentially big implications for the agricultural industry," says Dr Pullen, "Our model plant is in the same family as cabbages, so it's easy to imagine creating giant cabbages or growing them to the desired market size faster than at present."


Comparison of growth differences in wild-type (left) and growth-repressor mutant (right) Arabidopsis plants.

Credit: Dr Nick Pullen

It was previously assumed that plant growth was generally resource-limited, meaning that plants would only grow as large and fast as they could photosynthesise.

However, Dr Pullen and his team present evidence that plant growth is actually "sink-limited", meaning that genetic regulation and cell division rates have a much bigger role in controlling plant growth than previously thought:

"We are proposing that plant growth is not physically limited by Net Primary Productivity (NPP) or the environment, but instead is limited genetically in response to these signals to ensure they do not become limiting."

By genetically altering the growth repressors in Arabidopsis, Dr Pullen and his team were able to create mutant strains. They identified the metabolic rates of the different plant strains by measuring rates of photosynthesis and respiration, as well as comparing the size and weight of the plants to monitor differences in physical growth.

Dr Pullen and the team also grew the mutant plant strains at different temperatures to see if this changed their results: "When grown at different temperatures we still find a difference in size of our plants between wildtype and the mutants. This suggests our results should be applicable in different climates."

The impact of these results is wide-reaching, and Dr Pullen suggests that it may even change how we think about global climate data: "Climate models need to incorporate genetic elements because at present most do not, and their predictions would be much improved with a better understanding of plant carbon demand."

Media Contact

Alex Evans
bs09ane@leeds.ac.uk
44-752-775-4615

http://www.sebiology.org 

Alex Evans | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ADP-ribosylation on the right track
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns

nachricht Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket
25.04.2018 | University of Freiburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Why we need erasable MRI scans

26.04.2018 | Medical Engineering

Balancing nuclear and renewable energy

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin

26.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>