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Tweaking carotenoid genes helps tomatoes bring their a-game

By | Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables, News, Plant Science

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.

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Wheat disease common to South America jumps to Africa

By | Agriculture, News, Plant Health, Plant Science, Policy

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.

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Engineering a way out of climate change: Genetically modified organisms could be the key

By | News, Plant Science, Research

Climate change is a major global crisis. Despite international agreements to fight climate change, greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase and global temperatures continue to rise. The potential effects on our lives are drastic: recent wildfires in the US and Australia, floods due to heavier precipitation, and heavy losses of crops are all indicative of this. But simply reducing the production of greenhouse gases, although crucial, is not enough. The CO2that we’ve released, and are continuing to release into the atmosphere, remains there indefinitely. Climate change will thus continue to worsen unless atmospheric carbon is removed. Therefore, finding cutting-edge solutions for the active removal of greenhouse gases is crucial.

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For asymbiotic growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, feed them fatty acids

By | JSPB, News, Plant Science

Scientists around the world have been working to grow arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi without their host plants because they can be used as organic fertilizer in agriculture and forestry. AM fungi help plants receive nutrients from the soil through a network that is efficient and far more reaching than their own roots can provide. Now researchers have successfully demonstrated that AM fungi can be grown asymbiotically when given myristate as a carbon and energy source.

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Host genetic factors shape composition of virus communities in plants

By | News, Plant Science

Plants can be infected by multiple viruses at once. However, the composition of the pathogen community varies, even if individuals belong to the same species and the same population. Ecologists have now shown that these differences are primarily due to genetic variation among the hosts. The loss of genetic diversity could thus render species more vulnerable to infections and extinction.

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