132 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that U.S. cotton is free — after more than 100 years — of the devastating pink bollworm. This pest has cost U.S. producers tens of millions of dollars in yearly control costs and yield losses. Thanks to rigorous control and regulatory activities carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), state departments of agriculture, the U.S. cotton industry, and growers, pink bollworm has been eliminated (PDF, 176 KB) from all cotton-producing areas in the continental United States. Researchers from the University of Western Australia found that an enzyme in plants, ATP Synthase, plays a critical role in how plants respond to the cold. The discovery could be used to produce frost-resistant crops, which would save the agricultural industry millions of dollars every year. Bioenergy or high biomass sorghum can be grown INDUSTRY NEWS Delivering the people, industry, business and product news you need to know. Submissions are welcome. Email us at news@issuesink.com. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have identified networks of genes and gene regulators that allow plants to direct nitrogen to different parts. This knowledge may speed breeding new plant varieties to be more effective with how they use nitrogen. ARS Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research Laboratory molecular biologist Doreen Ware and her team identified 23 proteins termed “transcription factors” that play specific roles in how plants make use of nitrogen. Ware traced these transcription factors back to the individual genes that control them and forward to the genes on which they act. in water-stressed situations and still produce good yields, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study being conducted at Bushland and in Kansas. Researchers from Cornell and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will tap into genetic information found in more than 700 species of related grasses, in hopes of making maize and sorghum more productive and resilient to extreme weather brought about by climate change. The investigation of the Andropogonae tribe of grasses – which include maize, sorghum and sugarcane – is made possible thanks to a four-year, $5 million National Science Foundation grant. Rice, the most widely consumed food crop in the world, takes a beating in hot weather. To combat the high temperatures, a global group of scientists, led by a University of Florida researcher, has found the genetic basis to breed a more heat-tolerant rice cultivar. Severe climate events could cause shortages in the global beer supply, according to new research involving the University of East Anglia. The study warns that increasingly widespread and severe drought and heat may cause substantial decreases in barley yields worldwide, affecting the supply used to make beer, and ultimately resulting in “dramatic” falls in beer consumption and rises in beer prices. Through careful genetic analysis of a large, diverse panel of sorghum varieties, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered the gene controlling the stem juiciness trait in sorghum. For the first time, researchers from Brazil, the U.S. and Germany have created a new crop from a wild plant within a single generation using CRISPR-Cas9, a modern genome editing process. Starting with a wild tomato they have, at the same time, introduced a variety of crop features without losing the valuable genetic properties of the wild plant. Wageningen University & Research scientists have found an answer to a fundamental question that botanists have been asking for over a century: how do plant cells know in which direction to divide? “We finally understand for the first time how the mechanism may work,” says Ben Scheres, Wageningen University development biologist. “This fundamental knowledge about plant development can help us steer the architecture of plant tissue, which is important for the improvement of crops.”