Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Old ways help modern maize to defend itself

Date:
July 4, 2014
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Many modern crops have high productivity, but have lost their ability to produce certain defence chemicals, making them vulnerable to attack by insects and pathogens. Scientists are exploring ways to help protect 21st century maize by re-arming it with its ancestral chemical weapons.

Many modern crops have high productivity, but have lost their ability to produce certain defense chemicals, making them vulnerable to attack by insects and pathogens. Swiss scientists are exploring ways to help protect 21st century maize by re-arming it with its ancestral chemical weapons.

Related Articles


The researchers, led by Dr Ted Turlings (University of Neuchβtel, Switzerland), found that many varieties of modern maize have lost their ability to produce a chemical called E-β-caryophyllene. This chemical is normally produced by traditional ancestors of modern maize roots when the plant is under attack from invading corn rootworms. The chemical attracts 'friendly' nematode worms from the surrounding soil which, in turn, kill the corn rootworm larvae within a few days.

The scientists used genetic transformation to investigate if restoring E-β-caryophyllene emission would protect maize plants against corn rootworms. After introducing a gene from oregano, the transformed maize plants released E- β-caryophyllene constantly. As a result, these plants attracted more nematodes and suffered less damage from an infestation of Western Corn Rootworms.

"Plant defences can be direct, such as the production of toxins, or indirect, using volatile substances that attract the natural enemies of the herbivores" says lead scientist, Dr Ted Turlings (University of Neuchβtel, Switzerland). One of the types of toxins that maize plants produce against their enemies is a class of chemicals called benzoxazinoids. These protect maize against a range of insects, bacteria and fungi pests, yet some species have developed resistance against these toxins and may even exploit them to identify the most nutritious plant tissues.

These results show how knowledge of natural plant defenses can be practically applied in agricultural systems. "We are studying the wild ancestor of maize (teosinte) to find out which other chemical defenses may have been lost during domestication of maize" Dr Turlings added. "These lost defenses might then be reintroduced into modern cultivars."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Old ways help modern maize to defend itself." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140704134804.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2014, July 4). Old ways help modern maize to defend itself. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140704134804.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Old ways help modern maize to defend itself." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140704134804.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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