A simple, genome-editable technology for inducing steeper, deeper root growth in crops

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Ctr for Plant Sciences


This project builds directly on a BBSRC grant and PhD project that resulted in the discovery of a single, dominant point mutation in a gene regulating root growth angle causing more vertical lateral roots in the model plant Arabidopsis. This mutation is in a region of the gene that is conserved across many plant species and has the potential to be used to alter root architectures of many important crops. Root traits have a direct bearing on crop productivity via water and nutrient uptake making them an ideal high-value target for breeding/ biotechnological approaches to crop improvement. It is known that steeper roots improve water and nitrogen uptake in crop species, potentially increasing yields from lower input farming and under sub-optimal climate and soil conditions. This project will translate our findings into wheat as a proof of concept study in crops. Obtaining this proof of concept will provide vital data for patent filing and subsequent commercial exploitation.


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