Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New genetic map will speed up plant breeding of the world's most important medicinal crop

Date:
January 18, 2010
Source:
University of York
Summary:
Plant scientists have published the first genetic map of the medicinal herb Artemisia annua. The map is being used to accelerate plant breeding of Artemisia and rapidly develop the species into a high-yielding crop. This development is urgently needed to help meet escalating demand for effective malaria treatments.

A researcher inspects young Artemisia plants growing in culture at the University of York
Credit: John Houlihan

Plant scientists at the University of York have published the first genetic map of the medicinal herb Artemisia annua. The map is being used to accelerate plant breeding of Artemisia and rapidly develop the species into a high-yielding crop. This development is urgently needed to help meet escalating demand for effective malaria treatments.

Though preventable and treatable, malaria is a serious global health problem, estimated to kill almost a million people every year. The most effective drugs for treating malaria are Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs). Increased funding for malaria treatments means demand for ACTs is expected to double from last year's s, to around 200 million treatments, by 2012. However, meeting this increased demand will be a challenge: artemisinin is extracted from the plant Artemisia annua, but yields are low, making production expensive. In recent years, Artemisia production has been uneconomic and planting areas have declined, raising fears of shortages.

Plant scientists at the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) in the Department of Biology at the University of York are addressing this problem by using molecular technologies to rapidly improve the Artemisia crop. In the latest issue of Science, they publish the first genetic map of this species, plotting the location on the plant's genome of genes, traits and markers associated with high performance. This will enable scientists to recognise young plants as high performers from their genetics. It will also inform the selection of suitable parent plants for breeding experiments.

The map has been validated in glasshouse experiments that found the top-performing plants had elevated frequencies of genetic indicators for high yield. The project is led by Professor Dianna Bowles and Professor Ian Graham. Professor Graham says "The map is already proving to be an essential tool for us. With our new understanding of Artemisia genetics, we can produce improved, non-GM varieties of Artemisia much faster than would otherwise be possible." This speed is essential. "We intend to get high-yielding seed to farmers in the next 2-3 years in order to supply soaring demand for malaria treatments" explains Professor Dianna Bowles. "This is a really tight deadline and we can only do it with the benefit of the new knowledge provided by the map." The work demonstrates how modern genetics is shortening the timescales needed to turn a wild plant species into a domesticated crop.

The scientists at York are creating the new varieties for use by many thousands of small scale growers in the developing world, for whom the Artemisia crop is an important source of income. The project has just received its second grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This grant will support final development of the new varieties and their delivery to Artemisia producers in Africa and Asia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of York. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of York. "New genetic map will speed up plant breeding of the world's most important medicinal crop." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100114143023.htm>.
University of York. (2010, January 18). New genetic map will speed up plant breeding of the world's most important medicinal crop. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100114143023.htm
University of York. "New genetic map will speed up plant breeding of the world's most important medicinal crop." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100114143023.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins