A consent battle for dominance is being fought between grower and agricultural pest every growing season. This fight has been waged ever since civilisations required food to feed the masses. It was inevitable that various pests would take advantage of this veritable feast. To fully understand how the pieces fit together, a brief introduction to the laws that underpin this conflict is necessary:
Once ridiculed and subject to much controversy, evolution is now regarded as fact due to the overwhelming evidence in its favour. It was once thought that evolution was a very slow process, taking thousands of years for changes to visibly occur. This made it extremely difficult to provide any substantial evidence to support the initial theory.
NIAB EMR, in a joint UK–China research programme, has discovered several strains of the strawberry disease Verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae), belonging to two different groups, that act in very different ways. The results are already being used by plant breeders in the development of a new generation of wilt resistant varieties.
A passion for sustainable supply chains and the desire to do something useful, brought Becky Swinn to Lancaster University.
Now her research project comparing the carbon footprint of British, Dutch and Kenyan cut flowers has won the prize for the Best Collaborative Project at the Lancaster Environment Centre. But, like many others, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she finished her first degree. After spending two years doing a series of jobs she got asked to work on a project encouraging people to reduce the amount of food they throw away.
Three years ago, biotechnologists demonstrated in field trials that they could increase the productivity of maize by introducing a rice gene into the plant that regulated the accumulation of sucrose in kernels and led to more kernels per maize plant.
They knew that the rice gene affected the performance of a natural chemical in maize, trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P), which influences the distribution of sucrose in the plant. But they were keen to discover more intimate details of the relationships governing the increased productivity.