Wonder wheat, when precision meets serendipity

The powdery mildew-resistant wheat developed earelier this year by a Chinese team led by Caixia Gao is a fruit of human ingenuity and genome-editing precision. However it also deserves a mention in future essays on accidental discoveries such as penicillin.

Resistant mutants were obtained by disrupting all the copies of a susceptibility gene, but how did the researchers manage to avoid growth reduction? Part of the answer is luck, as an accidentally altered local chromatin landscape favourably removed epigenetic repression.

Will molecular breeders be able to get there by rationally designing the change in wheat and other plants as well? To learn more, we recommend this article by Gozde Demirer in GEN Biotechnology

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