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March 27, 2017

Genetically Modified Flower Power

Agricultural scientists in Japan recently engineered a strain of rice that will only flower several weeks after being sprayed with oryzemate, a common agricultural antifungal. They achieved this by overexpressing the flower-suppressing gene Ghd7 and then modifying the florigen gene Hd3a to activate in response to certain agrochemicals.

This represents a new avenue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that could potentially maximize crop yield by selecting the ideal harvest times. However, this lock-and-key approach could also be used to create GM crops with proprietary flowering agents.

Japanese scientist recently engineered a strain of rice to only flower after being exposed to a common agrochemical. While this could be used to maximize crop yields by specifying the time of harvest, it could also lead to lock-and-key proprietary seed and flowering agents.

Are you more excited by the prospect of timed harvests or concerned for the chemical control over florigenation?

 
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