Nav: Home

The genetics behind being Not Like Daddy

February 22, 2017

Heidelberg, 22 February 2017 - A common strategy to create high-yielding plants is hybrid breeding - crossing two different inbred lines to obtain characteristics superior to each parent. However, getting the inbred lines in the first place can be a hassle. Inbred lines consist of genetically uniform individuals and are created through numerous generations of self-crossing. In maize, the use of so-called "haploid inducers" provides a short cut to this cumbersome procedure, allowing to produce inbred lines in just one generation. A study by Laurine Gilles and colleagues, published today in The EMBO Journal, sheds light on the genetics behind haploid induction. "Knowing the molecular identity of haploid induction represents an important breakthrough to fully understand the fertilization process in plants, and hopefully will allow to translate this breeding tool to other species," said the study's senior author Dr. Thomas Widiez, an INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) researcher at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France.

Haploid inducers were first discovered in the 1950s. Pollination of female flower with pollen of a haploid inducer strain will yield offspring that are haploid, meaning that they will only contain one single copy of each gene as opposed to the usual two copies. All their genetic material comes from the mother. Treating these haploid plants with a chemical that causes chromosome doubling will lead to plants with two identical copies of all genes in just one generation. With classical inbreeding, this condition takes seven to ten years to achieve.

Haploid offspring in maize are not unusual; they emerge naturally, albeit at a very low rate. Haploid inducers can bring this rate up to about 10% of the progeny being haploid - enough to make it a useful tool for breeders. More than 50 years after the discovery of haploid inducers, Widiez and his team, in collaboration with Limagrain, have now identified the gene that mainly causes the phenomenon and termed it Not Like Dad to highlight the fact that its dysfunction induces embryos without genetic contribution from the father. The gene product is necessary for successful fertilization so that its failure promotes the formation of haploid embryos. Two other research groups have in parallel identified the same gene and come to similar conclusions.

Haploid inducers are nowadays powerful breeding tools, but as yet the technology is restricted to maize, while in-vitro haploid induction in certain crops is labor-intense. Understanding the genes and molecular mechanism behind the process will help translate this technology to other crops. The identification of Not Like Dad is an important step to this end. While Not Like Dad is the most important contributor to haploid induction in inducer lines, there are at least seven more genes that play a role in increasing the rate of haploid offspring. Revealing their molecular identity, as well as understanding their mode of action, will be important to fully understand the process.
-end-
Loss of pollen-specific phospholipase Not Like Dad (NLD) triggers gynogenesis in maize

Laurine M Gilles, Abdelsabour Khaled, Jean-Baptiste Laffaire, Sandrine Chaignon, Ghislaine Gendrot, Jérôme Laplaige, Hélène Bergès, Genséric Beydon, Vincent Bayle, Pierre Barret, Jordi Comadran, Jean-Pierre Martinant, Peter M. Rogowsky and Thomas Widiez

Read the paper: doi: 10.15252/embj.201694969

About EMBO

EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe. ?For more information: http://www.embo.org

EMBO

Related Genetics Articles:

Mapping millet genetics
New DNA sequences will aid in the development of improved millet varieties
Genetics to feed the world
A study, published in Nature Genetics, demonstrated the effectiveness of the technology known as genomic selection in a wheat improvement program.
Genetics researchers find new neurodevelopmental syndrome
Researchers have identified a gene mutation that causes developmental delay, intellectual disability, behavioral abnormalities and musculoskeletal problems in children.
The genetics of cancer
A research team has identified a new circular RNA (ribonucleic acid) that increases tumor activity in soft tissue and connective tissue tumors.
New results on fungal genetics
An international team of researchers has found unusual genetic features in fungi of the order Trichosporonales.
Mouse genetics influences the microbiome more than environment
Genetics has a greater impact on the microbiome than maternal birth environment, at least in mice, according to a study published this week in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
New insights into genetics of fly longevity
Alexey Moskalev, Ph.D., Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Radiobiology and Gerontology Institute of Biology, and co-authors from the Institute of biology of Komi Science Center of RAS, Engelgard's Institute of molecular biology, involved in the study of the aging mechanisms and longevity of model animals announce the publication of a scientific article titled: 'The Neuronal Overexpression of Gclc in Drosophila melanogaster Induces Life Extension With Longevity-Associated Transcriptomic Changes in the Thorax' in Frontiers in Genetics - a leading open science platform.
Some personal beliefs and morals may stem from genetics
Penn State researchers found that while parents can help encourage their children to develop into responsible, conscientious adults, there is an underlying genetic factor that influences these traits, as well.
X chromosome: how genetics becomes egalitarian
In cell biology, men and women are unequal: men have an X chromosome, while women have two.
The link between obesity, the brain, and genetics
Clinicians should consider how the way we think can make us vulnerable to obesity, and how obesity is genetically intertwined with brain structure and mental performance, according to new research.
More Genetics News and Genetics Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab