Nearly 40% of the world's arable land is too acidic to grow wheat, mainly because of high aluminum levels in the soil.
Nearly 40% of the world's arable land is too acidic to grow
wheat, mainly because of high aluminum levels in the soil. But
geneticists hope to make wheat more aluminum-tolerant by using a gene
from rye, a cousin of wheat. Scientists discovered the Alt3 gene in rye
several years ago. Alt3 makes rye tolerant to aluminum, which is usually
found just below the topsoil. The researchers physically mapped the rye
gene, so it could be transferred into wheat by marker- assisted
selection and breeding. A complete DNA sequence and gene map of rice was
established. Since many of the genes in rye and rice are in the same
order, finding exactly where the aluminum-tolerance candidate gene is in
the rice genome may help researchers find its location in rye.
Investigators were able to narrow the gene's location to a tiny
region in rice, but they have not been able to utilize the rice DNA
sequence to find the Alt3 gene in rye. The research, however, was not in
vain. They found that rice is a great source of DNA markers that can be
used to map the rye genome. Scientists may be able to use the rice DNA
sequence information to identify genes in other cereals that can improve
grain quality or naturally protect the crop against diseases. Contact: J
Perry Gustafson, USDA-ARS Plant Genetics Research, Room 206, Curtis
Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. Phone: 573-882-7318.
Fax: 573-884-7850. Email: email@example.com.