Photo credit: Phys Org
Scientists develop higher yielding sorghum plants
by Dennis O’brien and Sharon Durham
When it comes to versatile crop plants, sorghum might be considered “the little engine that could.”
It is drought tolerant, can thrive in poor soils, requires little or no fertilizer, and will grow in a wide range of temperatures and altitudes. Sorghum grain is used in breakfast cereals, in ethanol production, as feed for livestock, as a source of sugar for syrup and molasses, and in construction and packaging materials. It also produces large amounts of plant material, making it potentially useful for cellulosic ethanol production.
“We developed the productive sorghum line by inducing a mutation of sorghum plants that allowed infertile spikelets to grow and produce seed,” says Xin. An induced mutation is produced by treatment with a mutagen, like radiation or a chemical agent such as ethyl methane sulfonate. The mutation resulted in an overall increase in size and volume (length, width, and thickness) of the sorghum panicle.
“All of the spikelets of the new sorghum plant develop into flowers and produce mature seeds, thereby significantly increasing seed production and yield in comparison to conventional sorghum. The mutants may be crossed with other sorghum lines, particularly elite large-seeded lines, to improve grain yield in sorghum and other related species,” says Xin. “The mutation in the sorghum line we developed is stable and can be passed on to other sorghum lines through breeding.”
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-02-scientists-higher-yielding-sorghum.html#jCp
Read the full article: Phys Org
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