John Innes Centre has found a gene named ZIP4 has profound effect on the production of seeds of wheat. The researchers have used Gene-editing techniques to help them to understand how this gene is responsible for maintaining 50% of yield in the global crop.
This finding will enable to produce high-yield, elite wheat breeds by using a novel mutation of the gene.
The finding of this research has puzzled the scientists as they were explaining the genetic elements of wheat.
Now researchers are trying to find out how this new found gene and its variants are going to help wheat yield resilience in climate change. This will aid in securing the production of the crop on which 2.5 billion people are dependent on.
Most of the flowering plant in the world are polyploid and have multiple genomes. The polyploid wheat genome has evolved in the Middle East by getting combined with wild grasses and cross-fertilized. This process is known as polyploidization.
During this process, the gene ZIP4 duplicate from chromosome 3 into chromosome 5B. Research has shown that the duplicated gene acts two main functions- one is the promotion of faithful chromosome pairing and the other is the suppression of crossover between related chromosomes.
The researchers have also tested the role of ZIP4 5B in wheat fertility by creating a mutant plant in which they have deleted the ZIP4 5B gene by using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing techniques. After this experiment, the growth of the grains has lessened by 50%, which has confirmed the role of ZIP4 5B gene in wheat fertility.
Meiosis is a process and its function is affected by increasing temperature. This process will help to sustain the wheat grains to grow in high temperature.