Scientists have put elite wheat varieties through a sort of "Photosynthesis Olympics" to find which varieties have the best performing photosynthesis. This could ultimately help grain growers to get more yield for less inputs in the farm.
"In this study we surveyed diverse high-performing wheat varieties to see if their differences in photosynthetic performance were due to their genetic makeup or to the different environments where they were grown," said lead researcher Dr Viridiana Silva-Perez from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CoETP).
The scientists found that the best performing varieties were more than 30 percent better than the worst performing ones and up to 90 percent of the differences were due to their genes and not to the environment they grew in.
"We focused on traits related to photosynthesis and found that some traits behaved similarly in different environments. This is useful for breeders, because it is evidence of the huge potential that photosynthesis improvement could have on yield, a potential that hasn't been exploited until now," says Dr Silva-Perez.
During the study, published recently in the Journal of Experimental Botany, the scientists worked in Australia and Mexico, taking painstaking measurements in the field and inside glasshouses.
(Source: Agriculture and Food News, ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com)