Breeding plants with genes from one parent

Breeding plants with genes from one parent

2021-11-22

Scientists are a step closer to breeding plants with genes from only one parent. New research led by plant biologists at the University of California, Davis, published Nov. 19 in Science Advances, shows the underlying mechanism behind eliminating half the genome and could make for easier and more rapid breeding of crop plants with desirable traits such as disease resistance.

The work stems from a discovery made over a decade ago by the late Simon Chan, associate professor of plant biology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, and colleagues.

Plants, like other sexual organisms, inherit a matching set of chromosomes from each parent. In order to transmit a favorable trait, such as pest or drought resistance, to all their offspring, the plant would have to carry the same genetic variant on each chromosome. But creating plants that “breed true” in this way can take generations of cross-breeding.