Seed World

Researchers Explore the Genetics that Allow Hybrid Plants to Perform Better than Parents

Heterosis accounts for why a sorghum hybrid may grow taller than either of its parent varieties. Larger image. Photo courtesy of Jianming Yu.

An Iowa State University agronomist helps uncover the genetic mechanisms in sorghum plants that allow hybrids to perform better than parent varieties, a process known as heterosis.
The new study fills in some of the gaps that have nagged scientists for years and could lead to more precision in plant breeding, says Jianming Yu, an associate professor of agronomy and the Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding.
The precise genetics that that drive heterosis are only partially understood, so Yu worked with colleagues at Kansas State University to pin down how heterosis works regarding plant height in sorghum plants. The research was published recently in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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