Crop Tech Corner
Emily Unglesbee DTN Staff Reporter
Fri Jan 16, 2015 01:53 PM CST
(Page 1 of 2)

ST. LOUIS (DTN) -- This bi-monthly column condenses the latest news in the field of crop technology, research and products.

Kansas State researchers are developing GE wheat that would tolerate heat better and yield up to 35% higher than current varieties. (DTN photo by Nick Scalise)


Winter wheat plants might get a little more summer-friendly, if Kansas State researchers succeed in their quest to build a transgenic wheat variety. According to a Kansas Wheat news release, Kansas State plant pathologist Harold Trick and wheat breeder Allan Fritz have discovered that genes from rice and grapes give wheat plants an ability to tolerate significantly higher summer temperatures. That's good news for winter wheat grown in Kansas, which is responsible for nearly 20% of U.S. wheat production and can see temperatures range from 86 to 90 degrees from mid-May to mid-June. During this time period, winter wheat is in the grain fill stage and prefers temperatures of 59 to 64 degrees, the news release notes. The Kansas State researchers found that the insertion of a single heat-tolerance gene from rice can produce a consistent yield bump of 30% to 35% in the new transgenic wheat plants. They also found that an even more heat-stable gene from grapes can reliably produce yield increases of 25% to 35%. No genetically engineered (GE) wheat is currently grown in the U.S., and political winds don't seem to be blowing in its favor, but the researchers are forging ahead and working to integrate this new heat tolerance into elite wheat varieties. "We want the technology in hand and validated so when genetically modified wheat is allowed to be grown, the product is there for companies who see its value," Trick said in the news release. You can see the Kansas Wheat news release here:….


The mention of arsenic may conjure up the image of elderly ladies deliberately poisoning unwitting old bachelors, but it is actually a naturally occurring substance found in water, air, and soil. As a result, arsenic can accumulate in some plants, including the world-wide food staple, rice. An international team of researchers from China, England and Scotland have identified the plant gene responsible for helping plants control and naturally lower levels of arsenic. They found the gene in Arabidopsis thaliana, a small flowering plant that serves as the lab rat of the plant world. The gene, dubbed High Arsenic Content 1 (HAC1), allows a plant to chemically convert arsenate to arsenite in the outer layer of its roots. Arsenite can then be flushed safely out of the plant back into the soil, instead of accumulating in the root or being transported up into the plant's shoots. The discovery of HAC1 is an important step toward developing foods like rice with lower and safer arsenic concentrations, the researchers noted in their newly published study. You can read their research here:….


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