Tuesday, March 22, 2005

379: Rye not? Study may help farmers improve wheat | Science Blog

Rye not? Study may help farmers improve wheat | Science Blog:

J. Perry Gustafson, at the ARS Plant Genetics Research Unit in Columbia, Mo., and cooperators discovered the Alt3 gene in rye several years ago. Alt3 makes rye tolerant to aluminum, which is usually found just below the topsoil. But then the researchers had to physically map the rye gene, so it can be transferred into wheat by marker-assisted selection and breeding.

To do that, the group turned to rice, because it is genetically similar to rye and wheat. Among these cereals, there is a high degree of genetic similarity--what scientists call synteny. A complete DNA sequence and gene map of rice has already been established. Since many of the genes in rye and rice are in the same order, finding exactly where the aluminum-tolerance candidate gene is in the rice genome may help researchers find its location in rye.
Common descent feeds the hungry.