• Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone

Team at University of Calgary Develops New Canola Variety

A team of biologists under the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary, Canada, asked the question - what if canola yields could be increased by modifying the height and shape of the plant to grow more plants per acre?

Modifying a single gene in a wild type of canola, the team was able to produce just that - plants that are shorter, but with many more branches and flowers per plant. By editing a single gene, the team was able to significantly alter the architecture of the plant, creating a new approach for achieving the potential of greater production from each plant.

Once the gene editing was accomplished, the team then crossbred the edited canola line to eliminate the DNA used for gene editing to obtain a version of the plant with no trace of foreign DNA.

Aside from creating plants that have about 60 branches compared to an average of 20, this work also created canola that is less susceptible to “lodging” - where the stems of tall plants bend over near ground level due to snow, strong wind, or hail, etc.

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Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@highquestgroup.com.

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