Wheat is one of the most important food crops in the world, providing 20 per cent of human calories; with ever increasing global food demand, increasing crop yield is critically important. Researchers have now created a new modified wheat variety that increases grain production by up to 12%.
Seed banks across the globe store and preserve the genetic diversity of millions of varieties of crops. This massive collection of genetic material ensures crop breeders access to a wealth of genetics with which to breed crops that yield better or resist stress and disease. But, with a world of corn genetics at their disposal, how do plant breeders know which varieties are worth studying and which ones aren’t?
The popularity of tomatoes has led to the development of more than 10,000 cultivars of various sizes, shapes, and hues. Interestingly though, there is little genetic diversity among modern tomato varieties. This lack of diversity, coupled with the fact that many traits are controlled by multiple genes, makes improving plant yield and quality a major challenge for tomato breeders. A research team shows that modern gene editing techniques can help tomato breeders introduce diversity and improve the nutrition and environmental impact of tomato crops.
A deadly wheat disease common to Asia and South America has been identified in Africa for the first time, raising fears of potential spread to wheat crops across the continent. Researchers say that the fast-acting and devastating fungal disease known as wheat blast was first spotted in Africa in the Zambian rainfed wheat production system in the 2017-2018 crop cycle.
A new study shows diversifying agricultural systems beyond a narrow selection of crops leads to a range of ecosystem improvements while also maintaining or improving yields. Accordint to one of the authors, some marketing and agricultural policy considerations will have to change for farmers to adopt diversification practices more widely.
Researchers found wild relatives of sorghum in higher concentrations in Australia than anywhere else; the plants have potential to combat drought and extreme heat, but they need urgent safeguarding
Cereal crops exhibit two distinct types of branching which are the important determinants of crop yield. Crops such as maize and sorghum produce only one culm to reduce competition among sinks and increase the productivity of the main culm, thus exhibiting enhanced apical dominance. Rice and wheat produce multiple tillers (a type of branch that is similar in shape and height to the main culm) and exhibit weakened apical dominance.
Downy mildew is the biggest threat to spinach production around the world. While the pathogen has a short life cycle (approximately a week), it can produce millions of spores during the spinach growing season. Overhead sprinkler irrigation systems and dew formation on cool nights leads to more moisture, which enables these spores to infect the spinach.
The rubber-based agroforestry systems have been recently established to provide a promising solution for the sustainable development of rubber cultivation. However, the water relations between rubber trees and the intercrops remain poorly understood.
In a landmark discovery for global wheat production, an international team has sequenced the genomes for 15 wheat varieties representing breeding programs around the world, enabling scientists and breeders to much more quickly identify influential genes for improved yield, pest resistance and other important crop traits.