Valued at dining room tables and factory floors alike, cassava is worth about $10 billion in Asia. The continued growth of the commodity faces challenges from climate change, land degradation and limited investment in crop improvement and disease.
Plant breeding has considerably increased agricultural yields in recent decades and thus made a major contribution to combating global hunger and poverty. At the same time, however, the intensification of farming has had negative environmental effects. Increases in food production will continue to be crucial for the future because the world population and demand continue to grow. A recent study shows that new plant breeding technologies – such as genetic engineering and gene editing – can help to increase food production whilst being more environmentally friendly.
Glyphosate is a widely used broad-spectrum herbicide that targets both broadleaf plants and grasses (dicots and monocots). This recent work aids our understanding of adaptive evolution in amaranth plants and has implications for optimizing pesticide use in the environment.
Many genetic and breeding studies have shown that point mutations and indels (insertions and deletions) can alter elite traits in crop plants. Although nuclease-initiated homology-directed repair (HDR) can generate such changes, it is limited by its low efficiency. Base editors are robust tools for creating base transitions, but not transversions, insertions or deletions. Thus, there is a pressing need for new genome engineering approaches in plants.
A new computer application (app) could speed the search for genes that underpin important crop traits, like high yield, seed quality and resistance to pests, disease or adverse environmental conditions.
The researchers found that farms with diverse crops planted together provide more secure, stable habitats for wildlife and are more resilient to climate change than the single-crop standard that dominates today’s agriculture industry.
A common agricultural spray may be the key to preventing smoky flavor. It’s a problem plaguing grape-growers worldwide—in an ever-changing climate, how can they protect their crops from the undesirable effects of wildfire smoke exposure.
A team of researchers has successfully tested a new strategy for identifying genetic resources critical to the ongoing battle against plant pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses that infect and destroy food crops worldwide.
Potato virus Y is the most economically important and devastating aphid-transmitted virus, affecting both tuber yield and quality. The virus is also a major cause of seed potato degeneration, which leads to regular flushing out of seed potatoes after limited field production cycles. There is no remedy for this virus and once a plant becomes infected, it stays sick for life.
New research provides a better understanding of how chemicals thought to impart unique health benefits to plants in the cabbage family are broken down to promote growth in conditions lacking sufficient sulfur. This findings could aid in the future development of broccoli and cabbage varieties.