Resilient rye

Molecular biologists at the University of Florida have succeeded in inoculating rye, an important European crop, against the herbicide Basta by injecting into it 2 foreign genes (Biotechnology, Vol 12, No 13).

Till now, all improvements in the rye crop had been through classical breeding methods. In fact, rye has also been used to make one of the most important human-made crops, the hybrid Triticale. Say Ana M Castillo, Vimla Vasil and Indra K Vasil of the University of Florida, "Genetic transformation can supplement and complement breeding programmes by providing a powerful new method for introduction of novel and useful genes, even from unrelated species and organisms."