JERUSALEM, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have developed a genetic basis for the cultivation of advanced wheat varieties with higher yields, said a report by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Monday.
In the study, which was published in the scientific journal "PNAS" and conducted jointly with German and Japanese researchers, the team identified wild wheat genes that no longer exist in modern wheat.
Wild wheat is one of the first plants to be domesticated about 10,000 years ago. Over the years, many essential traits in the wild species have disappeared from the modern ones.
The study began with hybridization between wild and modern wheat, trying to get back vital alleles, which are important genetic variations that were "lost" during the modernizing process.
By genetically mapping the traits of wild wheat affecting the crop components, the researchers identified a unique gene mutation, which causes the development of more grains of wheat in each oatmeal.
It was also found that wild wheat has a gene that controls the number of seeds to develop, whereas during cultivation, the mutation was able to prevent its activity.
The focus of the research is the need to develop wheat varieties that are more resistant to water shortage, with the wheat being less adapted to the environment than wild wheat. At the same time, ways are being explored to increase yields.
According to the researchers, there are many genes that can be used to improve modern wheat. Finding new ways to improve genetically modified crops will help ensure future worldwide food security.