Inspired by NASA’s space experiments
Inspired by NASA’s experiments to grow wheat in space, Australian scientists have developed the world’s first ‘speed breeding’ technique that can boost the production of the crop by up to three times.
The NASA experiments involved using continuous light on wheat which triggered early reproduction in the plants.
“We thought we could use the NASA idea to grow plants quickly back on Earth, and in turn, accelerate the genetic gain in our plant breeding programmes,” said Lee Hickey, Senior Research Fellow at University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia.
“By using speed breeding techniques in specially modified glasshouses we can grow six generations of wheat, chickpea and barley plants, and four generations of canola plants in a single year — as opposed to two or three generations in a regular glasshouse, or a single generation in the field,” Mr. Hickey said.
“Our experiments showed that the quality and yield of the plants grown under controlled climate and extended daylight conditions was as good, or sometimes better, than those grown in regular glasshouses,” he said.
The speed breeding technique has largely been used for research but is now being adopted by industry.
Source The Hindu