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Genetics May Lie at the Heart of Crop Yield Limitation

20:00 EDT 5 Jul 2017 | Meridian Institute

New research from the United Kingdom-based John Innes Center found that plant growth may be dictated more by its genetics than how much nutrition, water and sunlight to which the plant is exposed. Previously, plant growth was believed to be generally resource-limited, but the new research shows that plant growth is actually “sink-limited,” or dictated by genetic regulation and cell division rates. "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,” said Dr. Nick Pullen, adding, “This could have potentially big implications for the agricultural industry. 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." The impact of these results, says Pullen, is wide-reaching, and 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,” he said.

Original Article: Genetics May Lie at the Heart of Crop Yield Limitation

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