To protect modern wheat, scientists look to ancient grain genes
United Press International (UPI) has recently published an article calling attention to the importance that researchers at the University of Queensland are giving to studying the genetic composition of a variety of ancient grains. Intensive monoculture practices and growing effects of climate change are decreasing the resilience of many crops, risking food security for the world’s increasing population. Crop genetic researchers in Australia believe they might find the answer in the past- cultivating diverse sets of crops may help reduce diseases and increase adaptation to climate change.
‘A total of 295 diverse wheats were examined using 34,000 DNA markers,’ Riaz said. ‘The genomic analysis revealed a massive array of genes that are absent in modern Australian wheat cultivars. The ancient genes could offer valuable sources of disease resistance or drought tolerance.’
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