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Gene editing could help brassica crops adapt to climate change

| February 15, 2018
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A harmful effect of climate change that poses a major threat to food crops around the world could be overcome by gene editing, say scientists.

Higher temperatures have been shown to cause the seed pods of cruciferous plants such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and oilseed rape to open and release their precious cargo prematurely.

wire xKnown as “pod shatter”,  the phenomenon is one of the major causes of cruciferous crop failure.

Researchers at the John Innes Centre in Norwich [England] pinpointed a genetic heat trigger that plays a key role in pod shatter.

The discovery could pave the way to plant breeding or genetic engineering strategies aimed at producing cruciferous plants that can withstand the effects of global warming, say the scientists.

One solution would be to use precise gene-editing tools such as Crispr/Cas9 to suppress a key temperature-sensitive gene.

On average, farmers of oilseed rape [rapeseed in US] lose between 15% and 20% of their crop yield each year due to premature seed dispersal.

[Editor’s note: Read full study]

Read full, original post: Gene-editing hope for ‘pod shatter’ crops

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