Adoption of a trait based regulatory framework may enable genetically improved potatoes to be made available in the UK.
How should aggressive plant pathogens be reported? The Sainsbury Laboratory has collaborated on a project that discovered the origins of the virulent fungal disease Wheat Blast – the findings have led to the development of a new code of ethics for reporting diseases.
As rust fungi attack, they turn on and off particular genes in wheat to prevent the plant from defending itself. When successful, this stops the plant from killing the invading fungus and ultimately leads to severe plant disease.
The genomes for 15 important wheat varieties used in breeding programmes around the world have been sequenced; a landmark discovery for global wheat production. The results from the Wheat 10+ Genomes Project will enable plant scientists and breeders to much more quickly identify influential genes for improved yield, pest resistance and other important crop traits.
To avoid infection with the wrong type of microbes, legume plants need to accurately identify the beneficial symbiotic bacteria that help them to fix nitrogen. A group of scientists have discovered the mechanism that enables legumes to do this, offering a major step towards their goal to engineer nitrogen fixation in cereal crops. Improved nitrogen uptake would reduce the need for artificial fertilisers.
The Victorian-era switch from manure to artificial fertiliser has resulted in damage to the microbial communities that maintain soil structure, according to new work from Rothamsted Research. Andrew Neal, lead researcher of the study, says carbon is crucial for soil health and the microorganisms within it.
Climate impact of grass-fed herds in pastures, that include white clover, are less than previous IPPC estimates, which are based on collated data not direct measurement and underestimate the reduction in microbial activity.
A new study using bumblebees has found that the sweetest nectar is not necessarily the best: too much sugar slows down the bees. The results will inform breeding efforts to make crops more attractive to pollinators, boosting yields to feed our growing global population.