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New Gene Discovery to Cut Pod Shatter in Canola

Scientists with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Grains and Research Development Corporation have mapped shatter-resistant genes of the Ethiopian mustard plant for the first time - an achievement that points to the future ability of plant breeders to reduce pod shatter in canola crops.

Pod shatter, an occurrence where canola pods in hot, dry climates open and release their seeds before harvest, has plagued canola growers, reducing yields by up to 50 percent. However, through their work, the team with the DPI were able to identify sources in mustard that were 10 times more shatter resistant than canola.

Five pod shatter-resistant genes have been discovered, and the joint team is currently evaluating canola germplasm from crosses between canola and Ethiopian mustard, with plans to deliver them to Australian canola breeders within the coming three months.

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