Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 41 if the effects in a field-grown crop were less, such as only a tenth of what we’ve seen in the lab, that would still represent an increase in yield of 40 to 50 per cent, compared with the average one to two per cent a year that most breeding programs deliver’, said Michael Emes of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He said the team’s finding could boost yields of important oilseed crops such as canola and soybean, as well as crops such as camelina, increasingly grown for biofuels. Larger plants would capture more atmos- pheric carbon dioxide without increasing the amount of farmland, said Emes. ‘Farmers and consumers would benefit significantly in terms of food production, green energy and the environment. The ramifications are enor- mous’. The finding came almost by chance: studying the enzyme’s effect on starch, the researchers noticed their genetically engi- neered plants looked different and much larger in photos taken by lead author, Fushan Liu, a former post-doctoral U of G molecular and cellular biology researcher. ‘That’s when we realised that we were looking at some- thing potentially much more important’, said Ian Tetlow, a U of G professor of molecular and cellular biology, and study co-author. Although genetic engineering led to more flowers and pods containing seeds, it left the seed composition unchanged. ‘The seeds are where we would get the oil from, and consistent composition is important so that the function and use of the oil isn’t changed’, said Tetlow. The researchers plan to test canola and other crops. Field tests and analysis with industry and government will likely take several years. ‘This could have enormous implications for agriculture, carbon capture, food production, animal feedstocks and biodiesel’, said Emes. ‘These findings are without parallel, and we came to them almost by accident. The reason we started the work was to test some ideas in basic science. It just goes to show that you never know where that science will take you.’ Source: University of Guelph STATUS JAPAN A research team, led by Miyake Chikahiro, an associate professor, and Takagi Daisuke, a student, from the Kobe University Graduate School of Agricultural Science in Japan, have reproduced the reaction in which harmful reactive oxygen species are created during plant photosynthesis, and clarified a mecha- nism behind plant withering. This discovery could help to ensure stable food supplies by cultivating plants that can withstand envi- ronmental stresses such as global warming. The majority of plants depend on pho- tosynthesis as an essential energy source. However, when the light energy necessary for photosynthesis is absorbed in excess, harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced. In most cases, plants use enzymes to deal with these reactive oxygen species. If plants are exposed to environmental stresses such as lack of water or excess minerals, their ability to photosynthesise is reduced, the ROS removal mechanism cannot keep up with the ROS produced from excess light energy, and plants wither and die. Researchers already knew that ROS are produced within chloroplasts in plant cells, but the exact location and the mechanism behind this were unclear. ‘By revealing the mechanism for the production of ROS and part of its regulatory mechanism, there are future possibilities for ensuring a stable food supply despite global warming’, said Miyake. ‘The next step is to reveal the regulatory mechanism for ROS on a molecular level’. Source: Kobe University organisms. Consumer polls are often cited in policy debates about genetically modified food labelling. This is especially true when discussing whether food that is genetically modified should carry mandatory labels, McFadden said. In conducting their current study, McFadden and his colleague, Jayson Lusk, an agricultural economics professor at Oklahoma State University, wanted to know what data supported consumers’ beliefs about genetically modified food, and gain a better understanding of preferences for a manda- tory label. The survey was conducted to better understand what consumers know about bio- technology, breeding techniques and label preferences for GM foods. Researchers used an online survey of 1,004 participants with questions to measure consumers’ knowledge of genetically modified food and organisms. Some of those questions tried to determine objective knowledge of genetically modified organisms, while others aimed to find out consumers’ beliefs about genetically modified foods and crops. The results led McFadden to conclude consumers do not know as much about the facts of genetically modified food and crops as they think they do. Of those sampled, 84 per cent supported a mandatory label for food containing genetically modified ingredients. However, 80 per cent also sup- ported a mandatory label for food containing DNA, which would result in labelling almost all food. ‘Our research indicates that the term “GM” may imply to consumers that genetic modification alters the genetic structure of an organism, while other breeding techniques do not’, McFadden said. As participants answered questions designed to measure their knowledge of scientific data on genetic modification, respondents seemed to change their statements about the safety of geneti- cally modified foods, McFadden said. Source: University of Florida STATUS CANADA An almost entirely accidental discovery by University of Guelph researchers could trans- form food and biofuel production and increase carbon capture on farmland. By tweaking a plant’s genetic profile, the researchers dou- bled the plant’s growth and increased seed production by more than 400 per cent. The findings were published in the March 2016 issue of Plant Biotechnology Journal. The team studied Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant often used in lab studies because of its ease of use and its similarity to some common farm crops. They found that inserting a particular corn enzyme caused the plant’s growth rate to skyrocket. ‘Even