Wild Genes and Science Gives Crops Renewed Resistance to Diseases

A global alliance of researchers came up with a new method to rapidly transfer disease-resistance characteristics from wild plants to domestic crops.

The technique called AgRenSeq was published in Nature Biotechnology and developed by scientists at the John Innes Centre in Britain, in collaboration with researchers in Australia along with the United States.

AgRenSeq combines high-throughput DNA sequencing with state-of-the-art bioinformatics that reintroduces disease resistance genes from wild crops to domestic ones. It is considered aan economic and environmentally sustainable approach to breeding more resilient crops.

It is also more efficient than the traditional breeding between two crop species.

Finished products from domestic crops reintroduced with wild disease-resistance genes show a rapid fight against pathogens that threaten global food crops.

The technique is seen to revolutionize the development of disease-resistant varieties for the global food supply because it shows promise in protecting many crops with wild relatives like  soybean, pea, cotton, maize, potato, wheat, barley, rice, banana and cocoa.

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