Researchers Discover Genes for Frost Tolerance in Wheat

Apr 29, 2008
Researchers Discover Genes for Frost Tolerance in Wheat

The genes responsible for the wide range of freezing temperatures that can be tolerated by different wheat varieties have been identified by a team of U.S. and European scientists, led by a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis.

The study results suggest that the genes that regulate frost-tolerance are activated at milder temperatures (53-59 degrees F) in frost-tolerant wheat varieties than in frost-susceptible varieties.

The findings, reported in the March issue of the journal Plant Molecular Biology, are important for better understanding winter injury, a major economic risk factor in producing wheat.

"It has been difficult for wheat breeders to develop more winter-hardy varieties because frost tolerance in wheat is a complex trait that is regulated by many genes," said Professor Jorge Dubcovsky, a wheat breeder and geneticist.

"The identification of these genes will enable breeders to develop hardier, more productive wheat varieties, which is of vital importance in light of growing pressures to increase global food production," he said.

As the world's leading exporter of wheat, the United States annually produces more than 50 million metric tons of wheat, which is used to make a broad spectrum of food products ranging from breads to pastas.

This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, the Hungarian Wheat Spike Consortia, the Hungarian National Research Fund, the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Program and the Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium.

Source: University of California, Davis

Explore further: Scientists find key to te first cell differentiation in mammals

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Jul 14, 2014

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use 'doubles' of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve ...

Lower chlorophyll to boost wheat yields

Jul 11, 2014

Almost five decades ago, a plant breeder proved that the tiny brassica Arabidopsis thaliana has higher overall leaf growth when it produces less chlorophyll.

Scientist gets World Food Prize for wheat advances

Jun 18, 2014

A crop scientist credited with developing hundreds of varieties of disease-resistant wheat adaptable to many climates and difficult growing conditions was named Wednesday as the 2014 recipient of the World Food Prize.

Making new species without sex

Jun 10, 2014

Occasionally, two different plant species interbreed with each other in nature. This usually causes problems since the genetic information of both parents does not match. But sometimes nature uses a trick. ...

Recommended for you

An uphill climb for mountain species?

5 hours ago

A recently published paper provides a history of scientific research on mountain ecosystems, looks at the issues threatening wildlife in these systems, and sets an agenda for biodiversity conservation throughout ...

Extinctions during human era worse than thought

7 hours ago

It's hard to comprehend how bad the current rate of species extinction around the world has become without knowing what it was before people came along. The newest estimate is that the pre-human rate was ...

User comments : 0