Dow licenses PBL root hair technology
Dow AgroSciences and UK-based Plant Biosciences (PBL – Norwich, Norfolk) have signed an exclusive commercial licence agreement covering the use of root system enhancement technology. It was developed by researchers at the UK John Innes Centre (JIC – Norwich, Norfolk) and commercialised by PBL. The technology platform is based on the identification by JIC researchers of a highly conserved gene, RHD6 (root hair deficient 6), which triggers root hair formation by epidermal cells and also acts on downstream factors that determine epidermal cell formation. Genetically modified plants that overexpress RHD6 have root hairs up to three times longer than normal. The gene plays a vital role in anchorage, water use and nutrient uptake, says PBL. Dow will use the technology to develop “important commercial crops” with enhanced root systems.