22 February 2018 - KANSAS CITY, Mo. & DAVIS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)
TechAccel LLC, a Kansas City-based technology and venture development company, today announced it has initiated a protein engineering research project with The Siegel Lab in the Genome Center of the University of California, Davis.
The project will determine if specific mutations in a wheat enzyme can produce plants capable of thriving in warmer temperatures.
“The Siegel Lab, with its advanced enzyme design and engineering capabilities, is the perfect partner for this important research,” said Brad Fabbri, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of TechAccel. “If we are successful in demonstrating the enzyme’s effectiveness, the next step will be to employ gene editing to produce a non-GMO wheat with significantly improved yield.”
It has been recently reported that global warming is already slowing wheat yield gains, with global wheat production expected to fall by six percent for each degree Celsius increase. The optimum temperature for wheat during the development of the grain is about 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 degrees Fahrenheit), but yield diminishes as temperatures increase, a big problem as growing seasons become warmer as a consequence of climate change.
At The Siegel Lab, researchers will use advanced techniques in protein structure prediction to construct and test a handful of enzyme variants that TechAccel has been studying. The ultimate goal is to create a “recipe” for enzyme improvement to produce wheat that can thrive in warmer growing seasons–up to 10 degrees Celsius above the ideal range.
Illustration Photo: Wheat Field (CC0 Creative Commons from Pixabay.com)