York Research Unlocks Secrets for Crop Security

York Research Unlocks Secrets for Crop Security

Researchers at the University of York are using groundbreaking technology to sequence genomes involved in plant cell wall synthesis.

By aiding the understanding of cell wall genetics, a study, co-authored by a University of York academic, provides information which can be useful for improving crop quality.

The microarray technology, used in the study of the cells, allowed researchers to identify genetic markers in plants displaying certain characteristics. By understanding the structure of cell walls, plant breeders can better select crops resistant to pests, nutritious, or more enhanced for use as biofuel.

The large amount of data gathered about the cell walls was then linked to particular changes in genetic information between the different varieties of plant cell, using a technique called association mapping.

Dr Ian Bancroft from the University of York’s Department of Biology, part of the research team, said “with a better understanding of the genetic controls of plant cell wall synthesis we can make more effective improvements to support agricultural industries and the bioindustry”.

Bancroft worked with the Quadram Institute, a new Norwich based research institute specialising in food and health, to conduct the research. Professor Keith Waldron, from the Quadram Institute, explained that “large amount of data” gathered allowed a good degree of accuracy for identifying the best trait for breeders.

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