When it comes to breeding better wheat varieties, often, though we seek to introduce desirable genes that increase yield, for example; these can come along with less wanted genes than reduce some other vital plant function.
This is known as linkage drag, and it's something that's hard to break: especially in crops that show relatively low rates of recombination. The goal, in elite wheat varieties, is to stably stack desirable genes together.
Way - Regions - Recombination - Process - Segments
One way of breaking up these linked regions is recombination, the process of genetic reshuffling that sees segments of paired chromosomes exchanged through crossover events. Another process that can have a similar effect in breaking linkage is 'gene conversion', which essentially sees one version of a gene (allele) being converted to another during double stranded DNA break repair.
Up until now, relatively little has been known about the genes that control genome-wide gene conversion or the high level of gene conversion in wheat. This latest study, published in Genome Biology, led by the Anthony Hall Group at EI, provides a positive step towards being able to overcome a lack of recombination as a limit to breeding efforts.
Data - Approach - Team - Gene - ReqQ
The data gleaned from the genotyping-based approach allowed the team to identify a gene, ReqQ, that was experimentally validated to be involved in gene conversion and crossover frequency—the first of its kind identified thus...
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