“Fooling” soybeans yields better plants a generation later

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University have fooled soybean plants into thinking they were under attack by temporarily silencing the expression of a critical gene. After selectively cross breeding those plants with the original stock, the progeny “remember” the stress-induced responses and become more vigorous, resilient, and productive. This epigenetic reprogramming …

This wild plant could be the next strawberry

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and… groundcherries? A little-known fruit about the size of a marble could become agriculture’s next big berry crop. To prepare the groundcherry (Physalis pruinosa) for mainstream farming, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Zachary Lippman, Joyce Van Eck at the Boyce Thompson Institute, and colleagues combined genomics …

Rice with fewer stomata requires less water and is better suited for climate change

Rice plants engineered to have fewer stomata—tiny openings used for gas exchange—are more tolerant to drought and resilient to future climate change, a new study has revealed. Scientists from the University of Sheffield have discovered that engineering a high-yielding rice cultivar to have reduced stomatal density, helps the crop to …

US agriculture secretary issues USDA statement on plant breeding innovation

United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, has issued a statement to provide clarification on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) oversight of plants produced through innovative new breeding techniques which include genome editing. The statement says that under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans …