A study conducted at the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute, together with partners in the UK and Australia, has shown that a gene encoding a protein called HvAPETALA2 (HvAP2) has a role in the development of florets and grain in cereal crops.
Using advanced molecular tools and gene editing techniques, the team showed that HvAP2 regulates multiple events during floret and grain development, including the formation of floret hulls which protect the grain and the development of the calorie-rich starchy endosperm within the grain. They also found that HvAP2 likely works by influencing the function of other important genes involved in development.
The research team also identified additional roles for the HvAP2 gene and gained insight into its interactions with other genes contributing to important agronomic traits such as grain shape.
(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. www.isaaa.org)