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Collaborative Research Sheds Light on Plants

With climate variability increasingly common, crop plants, such as corn, are frequently exposed to environmental stresses caused by drought and excess heat. With support from an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant, researchers at a U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service lab in Lubbock, Texas and Iowa State University collaborated to seek a better understanding of the genes that control heat stress using the quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping approach that can identify genomic regions responsible for heat tolerance.

One of the challenges of the work is that it is often difficult to separate the effects of drought stress from heat stress, as the two often occur at the same time. The authors solved the problem by keeping the plants well-watered while measuring heat tolerance. The most powerful finding of this study would be pinpointing genomic regions that are underlying the heat stress responses, which would enable breeders to improve heat tolerance in corn.

To read the article, visit Iowa State University's Newsroom.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

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