Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The influence of the environment on genetically modified wheat

13.07.2010
Differences between greenhouse and field trial results

In the greenhouse, lines of genetically modified wheat carrying a resistance gene against the fungal disease mildew have a yield which is up to twice as high as that of control plants. In the field however, this ratio is reversed for certain, but not all, wheat lines.

A study performed within the National Research Programme «Benefits and Risks of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants» (NRP 59) concludes from these results that data from the greenhouse cannot be applied to the situation in the field and that therefore field trials are important.

Thanks to a natural resistance gene from an old Asian wheat variety genetically modified wheat is more resistant to the fungal disease mildew, also in the field. But in field trials, some wheat lines show a reduced yield or a modified ear shape, which had not been observed in the greenhouse. Such accompanying variations have been known for some time in breeding processes, but now, for the first time, researchers working at the University of Zurich have described in PLoS One (*) how significant the differences between greenhouse and field trials really are.

Reduced yield
In the greenhouse, where many plants are a target for mildew when not treated with fungicides, the genetically modified wheat has an advantage due to its enhanced resistance. Its yield is up to twice as high as that of the untreated non-transgenic control plants. In the field however, the wheat plants are up against droughts, insect infestation and competition with other plants. In this environment, the genetically modified wheat plants are still more resistant, but this leads to a drop in yield for some wheat lines. Furthermore, in field trials the ears of certain genetically modified wheat lines take on a different shape, which favours infestation with rye ergot, another fungus.

These side effects do not show up in some wheat lines, in others the degree of the effects varies. This might have to do with variations in the position and activity of the resistance gene.

Field trials are necessary
The experiments show that it is not always possible to identify plants which will be able to assert themselves in a natural environment by performing trials in the protected setting of a greenhouse. The complex relationships between plants and their environment are only revealed in field trials.

(*) Simon Zeller, Olena Kalinina, Susanne Brunner, Beat Keller und Bernhard Schmid (2010). Transgene × Environment Interactions in Genetically Modified Wheat. PLoS One, online: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0011405

National Research Programme «Benefits and Risks of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants» (NRP 59)
Within the NRP 59, researchers active in a total of 29 research projects are investigating the benefits and risks of genetically modified plants with regard to the ecological, social, economic, legal and political situation in Switzerland. In one of these projects, an association of research groups belonging to various higher education institutions – the wheat-cluster.ch – is analyzing the fungal resistance of genetically modified wheat in a field trial at the Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART research station.

www.nrp59.ch

Contact:
Prof. Bernhard Schmid
Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Sciences
Universität Zürich
Winterthurerstrasse 190
8057 Zürich
Phone: ++41 (0)44 635 52 05
E-mail: bernhard.schmid@ieu.uzh.ch

| idw
Further information:
http://www.snf.ch
http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0011405

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics
19.04.2018 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Full of hot air and proud of it
18.04.2018 | University of Pittsburgh

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

Im Focus: Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning

The Atlantic overturning – one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards – is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years. Sea surface temperature data analysis provides new evidence that this major ocean circulation has slowed down by roughly 15 percent since the middle of the 20th century, according to a study published in the highly renowned journal Nature by an international team of scientists. Human-made climate change is a prime suspect for these worrying observations.

“We detected a specific pattern of ocean cooling south of Greenland and unusual warming off the US coast – which is highly characteristic for a slowdown of the...

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

Improved stability of plastic light-emitting diodes

19.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics

19.04.2018 | Life Sciences

New capabilities at NSLS-II set to advance materials science

18.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>