Navigation Links
Genes for drought-tolerance, aflatoxin may mingle to boost corn production
Date:1/4/2010

COLLEGE STATION Scientists plan to put two and two together in a study that will likely yield improved U.S. corn quality and yields.

Two traits that impact corn will be examined by two researchers hoping to use basic scientific discoveries to improve products at the farm level.

Drought tolerance and aflatoxin resistance are the targets of the study by Texas AgriLife Research scientists who have been awarded a $500,000 grant for the project by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The idea is to use basic science which identified the drought- and aflatoxin-related genes in the lab of Dr. Michael Kolomiets and apply them in corn breeding through the expertise of Dr. Seth Murray. Kolomiets is a plant pathologist and Murray, the project's lead investigator, is a corn genetics researcher.

"We plan to use basic knowledge we learned from previous studies and translate that through breeding corn for drought tolerance and aflatoxin resistance," Kolomiets said.

The "basic knowledge" stems from discoveries Kolomiets has made in researching a 13-member family of genes called LOX, or lipoxygenase.

He said one LOX family member is connected to a plant's drought response while another is linked to aflatoxin development.

"A geneticist basically has to break something to see how it works," Kolomiets said. "So in this case, we were able to shut down each gene in the lab to decipher what its function is for the plant biology and the plant's ability to respond to environmental stresses."

It seems that one of the LOX genes is "hijacked" when droughty conditions are ripe for the Aspergillus fungi to ride into the plant with its toxins. Yet another member of the gene family is the reason for plant aging and death once the plant is under severe drought stress.

Lipids the fats and oils in plants like corn, soybeans, peanuts, tree nuts and cotton are sought out, it seems, by pathogens like fungi. So, Kolomiets reasons, preventing the gene hijacking via a mutation of the gene that has been shut down will help corn plants avoid problems with these weather-related maladies.

Drought is a recurring problem for corn producers especially in the southern U.S. and throughout other parts of the world. Aflatoxin, which becomes prevalent in drought years, is a serious issue because it renders corn inedible for humans as well as for many livestock, depending on the content level. Both of these concerns cause a blow to the economy when the corn supply is cut by lower yields or poor quality, the researchers pointed out.

"Loss in Texas from mycotoxins (mostly aflatoxin) was $13 million in 2008 the highest in the nation," according to the researchers.

Murray and Kolomiets will begin the four-year project in January. They will be assisted by Dr. Tom Isakiet, Texas AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist, who will train graduate students for the project.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathleen Phillips
ka-phillips@tamu.edu
979-845-2872
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New RNA interference technique can silence up to 5 genes
2. There may be a party in your genes
3. New genes for lung disease discovered
4. Extreme genes shed light on origins of photosynthesis
5. Happy holidays from the groaning board; Western diets turn on fat genes
6. Maize cell wall genes identified, giving boost to biofuel research
7. Largest gene study of childhood IBD identifies 5 new genes
8. Longevity tied to genes that preserve tips of chromosomes
9. Study finds 231 new genes associated with head and neck cancer
10. Young age at first drink may affect genes and risk for alcoholism
11. Genes may explain why children who live without dads have earlier sex
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/4/2017)... YORK , April 4, 2017   EyeLock ... today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark ... patent broadly covers the linking of an iris image ... same transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th ... latest patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  higi, the health IT company that operates the ... , today announced a Series B investment from ... The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to ... population health activities through the collection and workflow integration ... collects and secures data today on behalf of over ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based and Touchless), ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD 18.98 billion ... Continue Reading ... ...      (Logo: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... ... NDA Partners Chairman Carl Peck, MD , announced today that Richard Kenley, ... Pharmaceutical Development Business Unit of Cardinal Health, has joined the firm as an Expert ... Chief Operating Officer at Anaborex, Senior VP and General Manager of the San Diego ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... ... device compliance and commercialization, has just released version 9.0 of the Cognition Cockpit ... latest version of Cockpit,” says David Cronin, CEO of Cognition. “We’re thrilled to ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... HOLLOWAY AMERICA, ... including food and dairy, munitions, and pharmaceutical/biotech, recently introduced The Revolution Lift™, a ... use. The improvement in technology comes on the heels of HOLLOWAY’s release of ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... ... example, are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, while men are at greater ... for this gender-specific neuronal bias is the aim of a research program at ...
Breaking Biology Technology: