In March, CIMMYT scientists continued their pursuit of drought tolerant wheat with the second field trial of transgenic lines carrying the DREB gene, given to CIMMYT by Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS). The gene, obtained from Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of wild mustard, exhibited considerable promise in its initial field trial in 2004, and in earlier greenhouse trials (see September 2004 E-news). The project is funded by Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and is led by CIMMYT cell biologist Alessandro Pellegrineschi.
This second trial narrows the focus of investigation to four transgenic lines and uses a larger plot to ensure better control and analysis. It will also expose the experimental lines and control plants to both watered and drought conditions to determine their respective performance.
“In a few months when we get the results, we will follow the physiologists’ lead and see if this might be useful for producing hardy wheat for farmers in climates prone to drought,” says Pellegrineschi. He is particularly interested in identifying the promoter gene that switches on the drought response.
For further information, contact Alessandro Pellegrineschi (firstname.lastname@example.org).