How Canola is Revealing the Link Between Crop Genetics and Climate Change

An article from NPR describes how researchers are beginning to understand the connection between increasing temperatures, premature seed development, and genetics. Focusing on canola, the researchers found that rising temperatures make it easier for cells to read the instructions of the Indehiscence, or IND, gene, which programs seedpod opening in plants. Thus, as conditions have become hotter in recent years, seedpods on farms are opening too early and reducing crop yields due to the increased activity of the IND gene. The researchers hope that by understanding the connection between temperature and crop genetics, they will be able to develop varieties in which the IND gene is not as strongly impacted by heat and ultimately prevents crop loss.