Superfast plant breeding slashes production times, research finds

March 26, 2013
Superfast plant breeding slashes production times

(Phys.org) —Many plant breeding projects - such as those aiming to increase food production - depend on getting 'pure lines' of plants but this can take a lot of time as, up until now, it depended on self-pollination for several generations.

Until recently, the fastest way to obtain 'pure lines' was to exploit differences in latitude or altitude, such as the 'shuttle breeding' technique developed by the 'Father of the ', late Dr Norman Borlaug. However, even this technique - which involves growing at different places -achieved only two or three generations a year.

This is about to change as a team of international researchers, including a PhD student from The University of Western Australia, has developed a new technique that enables up to eight generations of wheat and nine generations of barley a year.

The team - involving researchers from China, CSIRO and UWA - has perfected a method of .  While embryo culture has been used before, this team was able to achieve stunning results by combining it with specially modified water, light, temperature, humidity and potting-mix management.

Their study has just been published in the international journal Euphytica.

Co-author, Associate Professor Guijun Yan, from UWA's School of and Institute of Agriculture, said a skilled technician in the team was able to dissect 60 plant embryos per hour from the developing grains.

"By dramatically shortening times required to obtain pure-line plant genotypes, our method could have wide applications in breeding and biological studies," Associate Professor Yan said.

Explore further: Rot-resistant wheat could save farmers millions

Related Stories

Rot-resistant wheat could save farmers millions

October 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- CSIRO researchers have identified wheat and barley lines resistant to Crown Rot - a disease that costs Australian wheat and barley farmers $79 million in lost yield every year.

Chance Observation Leads to Plant Breeding Breakthrough

March 24, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A reliable method for producing plants that carry genetic material from only one of their parents has been discovered by plant biologists at UC Davis. The technique, to be published March 25 in the journal ...

New wheat varieties resist global wheat threat

February 21, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Innovative techniques in wheat breeding are necessary to meet the needs of the world's growing population and overcome environmental challenges, said Ravi Singh at the American Association for the Advancement ...

Destructive pea weevils on the way out

October 24, 2012

(Phys.org)—Farmers around the world are a step closer to eliminating the chemical spraying of field peas for the destructive pea weevil, thanks to research by agricultural scientists from The University of Western Australia.

Recommended for you

New insights into the production of antibiotics by bacteria

July 31, 2015

Bacteria use antibiotics as a weapon and even produce more antibiotics if there are competing strains nearby. This is a fundamental insight that can help find new antibiotics. Leiden scientists Daniel Rozen and Gilles van ...

Out of the lamplight

July 31, 2015

The human body is governed by complex biochemical circuits. Chemical inputs spur chain reactions that generate new outputs. Understanding how these circuits work—how their components interact to enable life—is critical ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.