Seeds for All

Entomologie/Botanik ETH Zuerich, Foto: Albert Krebs

Important patents for gene-edited seeds are held by universities. While this presents an opportunity for farmers in developing countries, we are unlikely to see speedy deregulation of this new technology anytime soon.

For the past few years, Ueli Grossniklaus – a developmental biologist and director of the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology – has been busy tweaking a revolutionary application of green gene technology. His work centers on apomixis, or asexual reproduction via seeds without meiosis or fertilization. Some plants are capable of this on their own, and Grossniklaus is investigating the basic underlying mechanisms of apomixis with the aim of applying it in crops. The idea is that high-yield varieties could generate cloned seeds with exactly the same characteristics as the mother plant. This would massively simplify the process of producing hybrid seeds – the labor-intensive approach preferred in the agricultural sector for its ability to produce robust, high-yield crops. “In terms of efficiency, we’re not yet where we want to be,” says Grossniklaus. “But apomixis has a future, and it’s going to come.” Read full article on UZH News

UZH News

This article appeared in UZH Magazine UZH Magazin 2/2022.