Trait Technology

One of the most important steps in CropTailor’s activities is the development of the technology for Tilling. By treating seeds with a mutagen, ethyl metha- nesulfonate (EMS), in such high concentrations that several million mutations are introduced in every individual genome, and by raising several thousand lines from such seeds, looking at the whole mutagenized population there will be billions of different mutations. According to our analysis, each line carries a mutation every 20 000 to 30 000 base pairs. Again looking at the whole population, this corresponds to more than 100 different mutations in every gene in the oat genome. However, since each individual line only carries ca. 1 million mutations in a genome of ca. size is ca. 26 billion base pairs in size, the introduced change is only ca. 0,4‰. Thus most lines in the population (ca. 95 %) have no visible phenotypic changes.

Crop Tailor have also developed an advanced technique based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and mass-spectrometry (MALDI- TOF) to detect specific mutations in the oat genome. In combination with the Company’s know-how on various biochemical processes in oat cells and their connection to individual genes, this means that it is now possible directly to identify mutations in genes encoding for the biosynthesis of specific properties. In other words, theoretically, Crop Tailor can modify any property in oats. Since precision in the selection is also so much better than before, complex multi-genic properties that require interacting mutations can also be modified, such as cold and drought tolerance.

A major advantage of mutation breeding is that the varieties that will emerge are not classified as GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Therefore, they can go directly into the processing chain. Presently, CropTailor is alone in the world having a Tilling population of oats, which gives an important edge over any competitors, especially different processing companies.