Epigenetics in agriculture

Published on December 1, 2013   39 min

A selection of talks on Genetics & Epigenetics

Please wait while the transcript is being prepared...
Hello. My name's Graham King and I'm director of Southern Cross Plant Science at Southern Cross University in Australia. Today I'm going to talk to you about the relevance and impact on epigenetics on agriculture.
In this presentation, I shall be covering a number of topics. These range from general issues relevant to the whole planet and the needs of a growing human population down to the molecular mechanisms that mediate signals from the environment and so affect crop performance. I shall discuss how climate change has created a global challenge for agriculture. I shall describe plant plasticity and how this mediates the interaction with the growing environment. In some detail, I shall describe the molecular basis of epigenetics. This includes the mapping of epigenetic marks and the discovery of epi-alleles. This background information will be placed in the context of understanding in more detail the modulation of crop development and physiology. Finally, I will discuss the opportunities now available for epigenetic intervention as new approaches to crop improvement and breeding.
Rapid climate change is creating a global challenge for agriculture and all those who depend on its outputs. In particular, there's a need to maintain crop production and increase it to feed a growing world population. The issues that are particularly relevant are increased climate variability with more frequent extremes of temperature, water availability, and the consequent effects on crop production. There's also, at the same time, reduced availability of fertile land, both because of rising sea levels and the encroachment of cities and urbanization, and all of this, of course, set against continuing increases in world population.