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Breakthrough in plant breeding - Grafting and mobile CRISPR for genome editing in plantsBreakthrough in plant breeding - Grafting and mobile CRISPR for genome editing in plants
Jan 05

TSTA Weekly Update, 01/05/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News

Membership renewals were mailed several weeks ago. A big Thank You to those companies who have already renewed for 2023! Please check the mail for your membership renewal and member certificate and renew your support for the Texas Seed Trade as soon as you are able.

2023 Annual Membership Meeting Registration & Hotel Reservations


We are excited to return to Horseshoe Bay Resort for the 2023 Texas Seed Trade Association Annual Meeting, February 12th through February 14th. Join us for the 2nd Annual Scholarship Corn Hole Tournament and annual Super Bowl Party Sunday afternoon. Monday’s General Session will feature officer and board elections, a report on the state of the association, industry speakers and topics important to our business. The president for 2023 will host a dinner and auction that evening. The TSTA board will meet Tuesday morning and is open to all members in good standing.

We look forward to seeing you!


Dr. Jackie Rudd will be joining us for the meeting to discuss wheat variety development. Janie Hurley will also be with us. Janie has been Texas A&M and AgriLife intellectual property expert for 15 years. Along with program updates Jackie and Janie will participate on a panel discussing how we may be able to assist AgriLife regarding the protection of IP. We'll also have discussion on the appropriate procedures for recertification of wheat, should the need arise, in order to avoid the difficulties we experienced this last year. There is a connection between recertification and IP protection and we'll discuss that too.


Please join is for a state of the association update, election of board members and officers, and more!


Participants & Sponsors Meeting Registration & Sponsorship


Hotel Room BlockTexas Seed Trade Assoc. Annual Conference 2023

Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA)


IPSA's 34rd annual conference will be held January 23-24, 2023 in Tucson, AZ.


There are some different things this year we would like to cover:


• We will have all receptions on site this year to take advantage of the beautiful scenery of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort! One of the receptions is titles the "Legends of Independence" where we will have a chili cook off and a salsa competition. During your registration, you will have the ability to register for each of those events - or judge!


• We will be offering a Flash Networking corner for you have quick 20-minute meetings during breaks! This is very new to IPSA and we hope this will bring a new benefit to our conference. These meetings will need to be prescheduled and can be done on the Conference App! For questions, please contact Cat at 


• In the agenda this year, we have built in a large amount of time for networking and visiting the exhibitors.


For more information click here.

In an effort to update and maintain our membership records we request you take a few moments and fill out the very brief info request at the following link.


The link is secure and the information will be used internally by the Texas Seed Trade Association and never shared without your permission. This request is on behalf of your association's board of directors and officers and we greatly appreciate your cooperation. Thank you!


1/5/2023 - If you have not updated your information please take a moment and do so now. We appreciate it! We continue to update this database and need your input!

News Bits


Source: Farmers National Company


The land market momentum that began in late 2021 accelerated into 2022 and was driven by competition for high quality cropland; it resulted in both record sales and overall increases in land values across the country.


Strong demand across all of the country's regions brought opportunities to landowners interested in capitalizing on the current land market. Aggressive land buyers continue to drive competition through public/online auction methods, giving us a true market value in those specific areas.


In most cases, landowners selling property experienced values never-before-seen for their farmland. The final results at these auctions set records in several states and have increased year-to-year values between 20 percent to 34 percent across Corn Belt states, according to the most recent report from the Kansas City Federal Reserve.


Landowners continue to turn to Farmers National Company to market their farmland assets, which has resulted in a new record sales volume of $766 million during 2022. This sales volume exceeds the previous record set in 2021 of $750 million. The majority of these sales came through competitive auction methods (76%) with increases in both total transactions and acres sold.


To view by region click here.


The EPA is proposing new restrictions on the use of carbaryl insecticide. Utilizing provisions of the Endangered Species Act, a tried and typical method to dispose of products and practices for political purposes, the EPA has "determined" carbaryl threatens more than 1000 endangered species.


Currently carbaryl is used primarily on apples, asparagus, melons, and tomatoes and the new proposal is to generally allow such applications to continue.


However the EPA is proposing new regulations for applications to corn, citrus, and turfgrass and an outright ban on its use in rice.


Editor's Note: How long have we used Sevin in residential and agricultural settings? Is anyone aware of a current issue where the use of carbaryl is harming an endangered species? No such specific concern is noted in the proposed new restrictions. Comments are open until February 14.

Breakthrough in plant breeding - Grafting and mobile CRISPR for genome editing in plants

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology


A ground-breaking twist to the CRISPR tool – aka “genetic scissors” – is being put to use to edit plant genomes by scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, signalling a methodology change. The discovery that was recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology could simplify and speed up the development of novel, genetically stable commercial crop varieties by combining grafting with a ‘mobile’ CRISPR tool.


An unmodified shoot is grafted onto roots that contain a mobile CRISPR/Cas9, which allows the genetic scissor to move from the root into the shoot. There it edits the plant DNA but leaves no trace of itself in the next generation of plants. This breakthrough will save time, money and circumvent current limitations in plant breeding and contribute to sustainable food solutions across multiple crops.


Many crops that feed the world are already threatened by heat, drought and plant pests, and these factors are being further exacerbated by a changing climate. To future-proof these essential plants for efficient and effective crop yields under challenging conditions, plant genomes can be edited with high precision using the CRISPR/Cas9 system to introduce beneficial gene functions or to remove unfavourable ones. While CRISPR/Cas9 is an enormous step forward for plant breeding, it remains nonetheless an expensive and laborious solution, making it unfeasible for application in most plants. The recent development made by the team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Germany overcomes these limitations.


RNA as CRISPR carrier


Commercial crop plants need to be genetically stable, they cannot contain any genetic sequences from the CRISPR/Cas9 system, and should be transgene free. Normally, this is achieved either through outcrossing over many generations, or via tedious regeneration processes. Both are time and money intensive and are difficult, or even impossible in many crop plants. A team of scientists led by Dr. Friedrich Kragler set out to change this. As part of the EU-funded PLAMORF project and German Ministry of Research funded proof of concept project, they are studying transport sequences that enable the movement of RNAs from roots to shoots. The research group identified the so-called tRNA-like sequences (TLS) that act as signals for the long-distance movement of RNAs within plants. The recent breakthrough came by combining this discovery with the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system. When adding such a TLS to the CRISPR/Cas9 sequences, plants produce “mobile” versions of CRISPR/Cas9 RNA. A transgene-free, unmodified shoot is then grafted onto the roots of plants containing the mobile CRISPR/Cas9 RNA, which then moves from the root into the shoot, and eventually on into the flowers that produce the seeds.


“The magic happens in the flowers,” explains Dr. Friedrich Kragler. “The CRISPR/Cas9 RNA moves in and is converted into the corresponding protein, which is the actual ‘genetic scissors’. It edits the plant DNA in the flowers. But the CRISPR/Cas9 system itself is not integrated in the DNA. So, the seeds that then develop from these flowers carry only the desired editing. There is no trace of the CRISPR/Cas9 system in the next generation of plants and it works with a surprisingly high efficiency.”

The blueprint of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors is transported as RNA from the rootstock of a gene-modified plant to the grafted shoot of an unmodified plant.There, the gene scissor protein is built with the help of the RNA. The gene scissor protein edits specific genes in flowers. Plants in the next generation carry the desired gene modification. - © RTDS Association


An editing system for many crop plants


What makes the new system even more exciting is the possibility to combine different species. The scientists showed that ‘editing’ in this way doesn’t only work when root and shoot in grafting are from the same plant species – in this case the model plant Arabidopsis or thale cress. They also grafted shoots of its commercial relative, oilseed rape, onto Arabidopsis roots that produce the mobile CRISPR/Cas9. Encouragingly, the team of Dr. Kragler also found edited oilseed rape plants.


“Our novel gene editing system can be used efficiently for many breeding programmes and crop plants. This includes many agricultural important plant species that are difficult or impossible to modify with existing methods,” he concluded.

Imaging tool rapidly assesses seed quality

University of Nebraska news release


Improving agriculture in a world that’s heating up and drying out isn’t solely about increasing yields. Nutritional quality is also crucial.


While measuring yield is as easy as weighing grain, what’s inside seeds is harder to discern.


To help improve the nutritional value of crops undergoing heat stress, Nebraska agronomist Harkamal Walia teamed with computer scientist Hongfeng Yu and his team.


Together, they developed HyperSeed, an imaging system that uses light wavelengths to rapidly create a nutritional fingerprint of each seed.


“We had a bunch of seed for which we had measured yield, but it wasn’t feasible to ascertain the quality of those grains,” said Walia, Heuermann Chair of Agronomy. “The cool thing was they came up with an engineering solution.”


The hyperspectral camera beams infrared electromagnetic waves onto seeds to measure reflection and absorption patterns. The results identify an individual seed’s nutritional characteristics such as moisture content, nitrogen levels and starch content.


Normally, testing multiple varieties would require months of growing large numbers of plants to assay seeds that are destroyed in the process. With just a handful of seeds, HyperSeed cuts the procedure down to seconds. Intact seeds can then be planted or further investigated.


Scientists can link variations in seed traits found by HyperSeed with changes in gene sequences. The technique can also be used to study the effect specific genes have on grain quality in gene-edited crop lines.


Yu, associate professor in the School of Computing and director of Nebraska’s Holland Computing Center, and his team developed open-source software using affordable hardware, allowing others to customize the system for their research.


HyperSeed’s approach is similar to the hyperspectral camera at the Greenhouse Innovation Center on Nebraska Innovation Campus that measures plant traits. HyperSeed, however, is able to focus at the level of seeds and other tiny objects with high resolution.

“Hopefully, this will help make agriculture and food more resilient to a changing climate and increasing populations,” Walia said.


The team detailed its system in the journal Sensors. The National Science Foundation funds this research.

Stories on this research and more was featured in the 2021-2022 University of Nebraska–Lincoln Research Report, now available online.


Source: Environmental Protection Agency news release


LENEXA, KAN - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army (the agencies) announced a final rule establishing a durable definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) to reduce uncertainty from changing regulatory definitions, protect people's health, and support economic opportunity.


The final rule restores essential water protections that were in place prior to 2015 under the Clean Water Act for traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, as well as upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters.


As a result, this action will strengthen fundamental protections for waters that are sources of drinking water while supporting agriculture, local economies, and downstream communities.


"When Congress passed the Clean Water Act 50 years ago, it recognized that protecting our waters is essential to ensuring healthy communities and a thriving economy," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "Following extensive stakeholder engagement, and building on what we've learned from previous rules, EPA is working to deliver a durable definition of WOTUS that safeguards our nation's waters, strengthens economic opportunity, and protects people's health while providing greater certainty for farmers, ranchers, and landowners."


"This final rule recognizes the essential role of the nation's water resources in communities across the nation," said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael L. Connor. "The rule's clear and supportable definition of waters of the United States will allow for more efficient and effective implementation and provide the clarity long desired by farmers, industry, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders."


This rule establishes a durable definition of "waters of the United States" that is grounded in the authority provided by Congress in the Clean Water Act, the best available science, and extensive implementation experience stewarding the nation's waters.


"The rule returns to a reasonable and familiar framework founded on the pre-2015 definition with updates to reflect existing Supreme Court decisions, the latest science, and the agencies' technical expertise. It establishes limits that appropriately draw the boundary of waters subject to federal protection."


The final rule restores fundamental protections so that the nation will be closer to achieving Congress' goal in the Clean Water Act that American waters be fishable and swimable, and above all, protective of public health. It will also ensure that the nation's waters support recreation, wildlife, and agricultural activity, which is fundamental to the American economy.


The final rule will cover those waters that Congress fundamentally sought to protect in the Clean Water Act-traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, as well as upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters.


More information, including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice and fact sheets, is available at EPA's "Waters of the United States" website.


Accompanying the issuance of the final rule, the agencies are also releasing several resources to support clear and effective implementation in communities across America. Today, a summary of 10 regional roundtables was released that synthesizes key actions the agencies will take to enhance and improve implementation of "waters of the United States."


These actions were recommendations provided during the 10 regional roundtables where the agencies heard directly from communities on what is working well from an implementation perspective and where there are opportunities for improvement. The roundtables focused on the geographic similarities and differences across regions and provided site specific feedback about the way the scope of "waters of the United States" has been implemented by the agencies.


Today, the agencies are also taking action to improve federal coordination in the ongoing implementation of "waters of the United States." First, EPA and Army are issuing a joint coordination memo to ensure the accuracy and consistency of jurisdictional determinations under this final rule. Second, the agencies are issuing a memo with U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide clarity on the agencies' programs under the Clean Water Act and Food Security Act.




On June 9, 2021, EPA and the Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of "waters of the United States" to better protect our nation's vital water resources that support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth. On Nov. 18, 2021, the agencies announced the signing of a proposed rule revising the definition of "waters of the United States."


Editor's Note: This is a disaster for land owners and especially farmers and ranchers. One of many outstanding examples of government over-reach, implementation of WOTUS was suspended by the Trump Administration, after being rammed through during the Obama years. When President Biden took office one of his first acts was to reverse virtually all the actions of the previous administration and WOTUS was suddenly back in the rule-making process. We've reported on WOTUS at length in previous Weekly Updates but a synopsis is that if you have any water on property you control, even for a few days a year, you no longer have authority to manage that land as you please without federal oversight.


Fishable & swimable? Can you think of a body of water that you are aware of that never fit those definitions? The editor grew up near the Big Muddy River in Southern Illinois and no one, no matter how ancient, ever remembered or regarded the Big Muddy as fishable or swimable. How's that gonna work?


Source: House Committee on Agriculture--Republicans news release


WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers released their final definition of "Waters of the U.S." (WOTUS). Following the announcement, Chairman-elect of the House Committee on Agriculture, Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, issued the statement below:


"Since day one of the Biden Administration, America's farmers, ranchers, and producers have fallen under constant attack: burdensome regulation, record inflation, high input costs, the politicization of crop protection tools, supply chain disruptions, and now an egregious government land grab.


The final WOTUS rule issued today by the Biden Administration is another step in the wrong direction. Simply recognizing long-standing agriculture exemptions that have been too narrowly applied for decades does not make up for, once again, plunging our rural communities into ambiguity.


Finally, the timing of the rule is questionable given the fact that the Supreme Court is due to rule on a case related to WOTUS regulations in the coming months. I am concerned this action will only result in continuing the regulatory whiplash."


Jan. 3, 2023


Source: Dragonfly Aerospace


EOS SAT-1, the first imaging satellite to be built by Dragonfly Aerospace, is preparing for lift off today, January 3rd, from SpaceX's launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida, as part of the Transporter-6 mission.


The satellite is the first of a seven-satellite constellation in low Earth orbit for customer EOSDA (EOS Data Analytics). The remaining six satellites of the constellation will be deployed over the next three years.


EOS SAT is the world's first agriculture-focused satellite constellation providing the agriculture and forestry industry with high-quality data to support efficient and sustainable practices.


Images obtained from Dragonfly's EOS SAT-1 will deliver valuable information for harvest monitoring, application mapping, seasonal planning and assessments that analyze information such as soil moisture, yield prediction and biomass levels. This data will support growers with reducing carbon dioxide emissions and help them to develop sustainable agricultural methods.


Such information will have important environmental benefits for the planet and help prevent natural habitats from being diminished for crop growth and maintain biodiversity.


Equipped with two DragonEye electro-optical imagers, EOS SAT-1 will provide 44km swath panchromatic and multispectral imagery across 11 spectral bands at close to 1m resolution - making it one of the most capable imaging satellites in LEO.


Bryan Dean, CEO and Co-founder of Dragonfly Aerospace, said:


"This is a key moment for Dragonfly Aerospace, and we are thrilled to be delivering EOS SAT-1 with a number of firsts - the first imaging satellite designed and built by Dragonfly, the first microsatellite to be manufactured in South Africa since 2009, the first satellite of the EOS SAT constellation and the first agri-focused constellation in space.


"This has been an important project for our whole team and has allowed us to demonstrate our capabilities, not just in producing high-performance electro-optical imagers, but in designing and manufacturing a full imaging satellite system. We are extremely excited and waiting in anticipation for the SpaceX Transporter-6 launch."


"We look forward to supporting EOSDA with its mission to launch the next six satellites by 2025."


To view the launch live, which is scheduled for 09.56 ET, Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023, please use the following link


Please note that the launch time and date is subject to change.

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The articles, views, and opinions expressed in the Weekly Update do not necessarily reflect the policies of the Texas Seed Trade Association or the opinions of its members.