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In searching for ways to improve crop production and ultimately address food security, three biologists from York University, Katalin Hudak, Kira Neller and Alexander Klenov, have focused their research on the American pokeweed plant. The plant is recognized for a protein that inhibits the replication of several plant and animal viruses. What the trio found was how the genes in the plant work in concert to stave off viruses.
This discovery, if applied to agriculture, has great potential to improve the resiliency of agricultural crops.
The researchers discovered that while the untreated plants had relatively balanced gene expression, the jasmonic-acid-treated plants had a significantly higher abundance of defense proteins. The team believes this discovery of beneficial genes in this plant could improve the resiliency of agricultural crops. It may be especially promising for sugar beet production because sugar beets are closely related to pokeweed.
For more information, visit York University’s Brainstorm.