Saturday, November 21, 2015

Agronomist explores the genetics that allow hybrid plants to perform better than parents


    Jianming Yu of Iowa State University has helped recover the unknown mechanism behind heterosis. Which explains why some hybrids of sorghum plants out grow and out perform their parents.  For years agronomists and botanists were not sure why this occurred, the phenomenon was only partially understood.  The study focused on the link between a dominant allele of one gene with recessive allele of another.  Yu went out to answer the question:  "Where does that extra height come from if not from either parent?"
          Through research Yu explained that because most of sorghum plants are the offspring from a inbred fertilization that sometimes this causes genes to "cancel" each other out.  Yu also goes onto explain that multiple genes makeup up the height trait.   One could be responsible for base length, one responsible for stem length, therefore a different combinations from both parents could result in a taller plant.
          I feel like this article is one of more relevant articles to our class.  Specifically the first half of the semester where we studied more classical genetics.  I was impressed to fine that theories are still being put to use for further research purposes.

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