Plant Organelle Technologies (POT), formerly EvoPlant, develops targeted technique which has the potential to improve photosynthesis, drought tolerance and herbicide resistance.
Plants directly provide over 80 % of the food consumed by humans and are the primary source of nutrition for livestock.However, environmental factors, plant diseases and pests constantly threaten the availability of food supply. Since we began farming, mankind has selected for improved traits in our crop plants, but natural mutation rates are low, resulting in slow progress.
Molecular technologies are successfully being used (the herbicide-tolerant soybean market is now worth £12.3 billion) but are limited in which genes can be altered, and therefore which traits can be improved. The expanding population, pressures on land use and climate change are making the need for improved crops greater than ever.
Researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a method to induce mutations in the mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes in plants. This novel, targeted technique has the potential to enhance crop yields, improve the nutrient content of foods, improve resistance to pests and disease, and so promote greater food security for the world’s growing population.
- Targets the chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes.
- Accesses genes which most plant molecular biology techniques cannot reach.
- Can speed up the process of incorporating new traits into crops, reducing new variety development times
- Transgene can be removed in subsequent generations – creating non-GM plants.
Plant Organelle Technologies are currently welcoming licence and funding enquiries. Please get in touch with the project manager for more information.