Research team uncovers gene regulatory network that controls seed ‘de-greening’
A genetic discovery by a University of Calgary-led international research team offers a solution to a longstanding “green seed problem” that causes millions of dollars annually in canola crop losses.
Led by Marcus Samuel in the Faculty of Science, researchers from the University of Calgary, the University of Toronto and the University of Bordeaux in France, have uncovered a plant gene regulatory network that could be genetically enhanced to prevent green seeds from occurring in mature canola.
“The annual loss in North America alone is close to $150 million from this de-greening issue,” says Samuel, assistant professor and chair of the plant biology program in the Department of Biological Sciences. “I want to see this basic science translated into a viable application. Canola is a huge cash crop and we have a real solution to a major problem.”
The team’s research was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a top-ranked journal. The article, “ABI3 controls embryo degreening through Mendel’s I locus,” includes five years of work by U of C faculty and students.
Canola is the major cash crop in Alberta. The province produces about 35 per cent of Canada’s canola. Across the country, the oilseed crop, whose seeds are pressed into canola oil, contributes about $15 billion a year to the Canadian economy.
The problem: Green colour ‘fixed’ by frost
Every year around the time when canola matures, an unpredictable touch of a light frost can damage crop quality and cause severe losses.
“The frost doesn’t kill off the plant, but it ‘fixes’ the green colour in the seeds,” Samuel explains. “Non-lethal” frosts, occurring at temperatures of zero to minus a degree or two Celsius, can result in up to 20 per cent green seeds – as opposed to mature brown or black seeds – in mature canola, he says.
This presence of chlorophyll (pigment that imparts green colour to plants) in mature seeds affects the oil quality, produces unpleasant flavours and odours, and reduces the oil’s shelf life.
De-greening process investigated in close relative to canola
The research team investigated the de-greening process in a weed species called Arabidopsis, a “model” research plant whose complete genetic makeup is known and which is a close genetic relative of canola.
The research team, using a “mutant” strain of Arabidopsis that produces mature green seeds, performed genetic analyses that uncovered a pathway required for seed development and removal of unwanted chlorophyll during seed maturation.
They found that a protein that regulates gene expression (how the gene’s information is used in synthesizing a functional gene product), called ABI3, is important in removing seed chlorophyll and enabling the seeds to de-green.
In an illustration of how basic science builds upon itself, the researchers identified that ABI3 regulated expression of a gene mapped in 2007 as controlling chlorophyll degradation and resulting in yellow versus green seed colour. This colour difference was first identified as a trait in the 1800s by genetics pioneer Gregor Johann Mendel, who used it as a marker to study the inheritance of traits.
The team also showed that a higher expression of ABI3 in Arabidopsis led to seeds that were able to de-green normally to produce mature brown-black seeds, despite harsh cold treatments. “This overexpression allows these plants to withstand cold much better and for the system to be functional even though it’s hit with cold,” Samuel notes.
The goal: Create varieties that can withstand freezing
“Given the similarity of Arabidopsis and canola, it would be easy to isolate the same genes from canola and use transgenic technologies (which introduce new genes into organisms) to create varieties that could withstand freezing conditions, yet produce mature brown-black seeds,” he says. “We actually have demonstrated in our laboratory tests that the canola genes work the same way.”
The Latest Bing News on:
- Canola fields are expanding fast in Eastern Washingtonon August 2, 2022 at 3:02 am
Travelers driving through the rolling hills of the Palouse this summer may have noticed more fields that glow bright yellow. The yellow blossoms belong to the canola plant, which has become a hot ...
- PROTIVATE Provides Crops Greater Growth From the Starton August 1, 2022 at 7:50 am
PROTIVATE™ nutritional seed enhancer from Koch Agronomic Services (KAS) provides the critical nutrition needed for early crop establishment.
- AOF pegs canola crop at 5.5Mt from record areaon July 31, 2022 at 5:42 pm
Australia is on track to produce its second-biggest crop of canola estimated at 5.5Mt from a record planted area, according to the latest AOF Crop Report. ..Read More ...
- Northern Alberta storm leaves residents cleaning up damaged crops and homeson July 30, 2022 at 5:33 pm
Hines Creek area residents are left cleaning up damaged crops and homes after wild winds through northern Alberta triggered a tornado warning on Friday evening.
- Farmers plant record area to canola as oilseed prices soaron July 29, 2022 at 4:30 pm
Eye-watering prices have led canola farmers to sow a record number of hectares this year, but will yields match last year's crop?
- Canola futures slip below psychological support levelson July 28, 2022 at 1:22 pm
Canada’s canola crop is still some time away from harvest, with plenty of opportunities for a weather scare to materialize. However, relatively benign ...
- Heat blasting impacts canola in north weston July 26, 2022 at 1:32 pm
NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. - Producers in the north west region, including the Battlefords and Meadow Lake areas, experienced some stress from the ...
- Agriculture booms on back of bumper cropon July 26, 2022 at 1:46 am
Above-average rainfall and record crop yields have underlined a bumper period for Australian agriculture, with Australian Bureau of Statistics data showing the sectors value rose 17 per cent to 70.9bn ...
- Canola consolidates at lower levels in mid-Julyon July 25, 2022 at 4:00 am
Canola prices have stabilized after the commodity market meltdown, as the market attention turns to new crop conditions and the weather outlook. Given that speculative fund money is now in ...
- Saskatchewan crops advancing quicklyon July 21, 2022 at 5:22 pm
Hot and humid conditions saw crops in Saskatchewan advance quickly during the week ended Monday, according to the latest provincial crop report — although the humidity has slowed haying. When humidity ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
The Latest Bing News on:
Green seed problem
- Going organic, going green, going big –salad leaf giant McCormack’s Farm explain why they have grown organic spinach for the first timeon August 1, 2022 at 6:30 pm
This marks a new venture for the Meath company into organic farming, and already they claim to have become the largest Irish producer of organic spinach. The second-generation family farm at Boycetown ...
- Color my plate- plant-basedon August 1, 2022 at 2:00 pm
Shift to plant-based milks and healthier versions of foods you often buy for the family like soy, oat, almond, cashew or rice milk; whole wheat or multi-grain breads and crackers; whole wheat, bean or ...
- How year-round crops could reduce farm pollution in the Mississippi Riveron August 1, 2022 at 12:20 pm
The Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota is developing 16 new crops to keep landscapes covered, and water cleaner.
- Growing Concern: Thousands of farms across U.S. damaged by ‘dicamba drift’ that devastates cropson August 1, 2022 at 11:37 am
A popular herbicide ingredient some farmers say is vital to business has devastated other farms because of the chemical's ability to drift under certain conditions. Enforcing the rules is in the hands ...
- Concert Bio lands pre-seed round to fix hydroponic farming’s ‘dirty secret’on August 1, 2022 at 11:01 am
Hydroponic agriculture has a lot of potential — yields for lettuce, for example, can be 10 times higher than traditional farming — but it’s not without its problems. For one, it requires a lot of ...
- These are the 5 most common lawn problems – and to fix them, faston July 26, 2022 at 10:30 pm
What your lawn is trying to tell you? Here are 5 problems to watch out for – and expert solutions for a healthy patch ...
- Southern Charm's Shep Rose and Taylor Ann Green Split: 'He Refused to Commit,' Source Sayson July 20, 2022 at 4:30 pm
Southern Charm stars Shep Rose and Taylor Ann Green broke up this month, sources exclusively tell PEOPLE, after two years of dating.
- Condiment Crisis! Climate Change Is Causing Mustard Shortageon July 18, 2022 at 11:35 am
Redesign the mustard seed instead of fixing the problems that caused the crop failures ... industrial complex—a nexus of campaigners, green charities and sustainable-business practitioners ...
- Why grass struggles under trees, and what to plant there insteadon July 17, 2022 at 9:24 pm
A tree surrounded by green lawn is a pretty picture for many ... Although some fescue grass species included in seed mixtures labeled for deep shade can get along on as little as two hours ...
- Why food insecurity is growing problem, by Perm Secon July 14, 2022 at 8:56 pm
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe has said food insecurity in the country is a growing problem, in view of the escalation of ...