The technique, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, links important agronomic traits in crop plants with active regions of the genome. Instead of requiring knowledge of the crop's complete genome, it identifies only expressed genes.
In an example of such an application, the researchers are now working with plant breeding company Limagrain to produce reliable markers for hybrid performance in oilseed rape. Marker-assisted breeding for this complex trait has previously been unsuccessful due to a lack of available markers and appropriate technology.
Using bioinformatics techniques it is possible to associate variation in both the sequences of expressed genes and their relative abundance in the mRNA with important traits, and then produce markers for these traits that breeders can use in their breeding programmes. Their research was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology and was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Andrew Chapple | EurekAlert!
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