Improved Grain Yield and Quality Under High Temperature


Identification of plants with tolerance of abiotic and(or) biotic stressors has been the purview of traditional plant breeding for decades.  With the advent of molecular breeding tools plant breeding and selection has incorporated both whole genome and candidate gene technologies.  Candidate gene approach has the advantage of knowing associated mechanisms and more predictable plant breeding outcomes.


A method has been developed to enhance photosynthetic capacity of plants which results in up to 30% yield increase and plant tolerance to high temperature related stress.  Expression of HYR, a rice transcription factor, was shown to protect rice during reproductive stages to higher minimal or nighttime temperatures.  Gene polymorphisms can be used:  to study associated traits in diverse genotypes, for selection in breeding populations, and in development of lines for generation of hybrids. 

Expression of ortholog HYR genes could be utilized in other crops such as wheat and other C3 cereals, preferably as markers, but also as transgenes for commercial purposes.   


Plants with HYR expression maintain grain yield and quality under constant high temperature.  Chalky grains are reduced in HYR expressing plants which leads to improved head rice yield and market price.  Chalkiness is a particular problem affecting hybrid rice; therefore, markers for grain quality, such as HYR would be useful for hybrid line selection.  Many applications exist for plant breeders and germplasm development.


Additional information about this research, published in Nature Communications, can be found here.


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Technology Commercialization Office


REF: 2013-24


Patent Information:
Plant Agriculture
For Information, Contact:
Bryan Renk
Associate Director for Technology Commercialization
University of Arkansas TCO
Andy Pereira
Ramegowda Venkategowda
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