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Discovery Offers Solution to Canola Crop Losses

27 September 2013

CANADA - A genetic discovery by a University of Calgary-led international research team offers a solution to a long-standing "green seed problem" that causes millions of dollars annually in canola crop losses.

Led by Marcus Samuel in the Faculty of Science, researchers from the U of C, the University of Toronto and the University of Bordeaux in France, have uncovered a plant gene regulatory network that could be genetically enhanced to prevent green seeds from occurring in mature canola.

"The annual loss in North America alone is close to C$150 million from this de-greening issue," says Samuel, assistant professor and chair of the plant biology program in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Canola is the major cash crop in Alberta, which produces about 35 per cent of Canada's canola that generates in the province about $5 billion in revenue annually.

Across the country, the oilseed crop, whose seeds are pressed into canola oil, contributes about C$15 billion a year to the Canadian economy.

However, every year around the time when canola matures, an unpredictable touch of a light frost can damage crop quality and cause severe losses.

"The frost doesn't kill off the plant, but it 'fixes' the green colour in the seeds," Samuel explains.

TheCropSite News Desk



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