Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is an annual crop produced in the world’s temperate regions. Buckwheat flour is used in various ways to make noodles, bread, pancakes and other products. As it contains various nutrients, particularly proteins and minerals, it is known as a healthy food. However, buckwheat has a defective breeding trait, known as self-incompatibility (fig. 1). Thus, the yield of buckwheat is low compared with other major self-fertilizing crops. To make a high-yield buckwheat cultivar, it is necessary to break down the self-incompatibility system of buckwheat.
Assistant Prof. Yasui and Associate Prof. Mori have discovered a new gene, S-LOCUS EARLY FLOWEING 3 (S-ELF3), which plays an important role in the self-incompatibility system of buckwheat. The professors are now preparing to make a self-fertilizing buckwheat cultivar by breaking down the S-ELF3 gene using a transgenic or mutagenesis technique.