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Giant tobacco plants that stay young forever
Date:1/10/2013

rops to yield a far greater amount of biomass. In the case of potatoes, this means a great deal more starch. "If we want to guarantee security of supply for foodstuffs and plant-based raw materials, the yield per hectare will have to double by 2050, claims the German Bioeconomy Council. This new technology brings us a great deal nearer to that target," reckons Prfer. "However, our method is only likely to deliver success as long as the flowers of the plant in question play no significant role sugar beet, for instance. It would make no sense to use the technique on rapeseed." Preventing plants from flowering presents a significant advantage, in that no flowering means no production of seeds or pollen. As a result, plants have no way of reproducing, which means they cannot spread into the environment in an unplanned way.

In the future, the researchers want to go further and be able to disable plants' growth limits using chemical mutagenesis as well that is to say, using normal growing techniques. This process involves using chemical additives to bring about changes in a seed's DNA sequence. The advantage is that a plant grown in this way would no longer be genetically modified but simply a plant grown using standard techniques. "But in order to be able to do that, we first need to gain a better understanding of the deregulation of genes," says Prfer, who hopes cultivation experiments might begin next year. Then perhaps normal plants will be in a position to grow tall, too.


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Contact: Dirk Prfer
dirk.pruefer@ime.fraunhofer.de
49-251-832-2302
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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