By Shadab Mustafa
Scientists have discovered a gene that controls genetic recombination rates in fruit flies. This is the first gene found to do this. The gene is MEI-218, was found due to scientists observing Drosophila mauritiana and Drosophila melanogaster. This is very significant. Scientists speculate that nature attempts to balance recombination rates to an optimum in which risk and genetic diversity is balanced. Of course the rate of recombination is constantly evolving as needed just like the immunobiology genes. This could be useful in the future for creating new plant breeds for farming, similar to mutation breeding. Over 1,000 mutant varieties of major staple crops are being grown globally. Increasing the rate of genetic recombination can help create new crop varieties which might help farmers boost crop yields by a substantial amount. Greater genetic diversity in crops will guarantee that some pest or disease cannot substantially hinder crop yields. It could also be useful in creating vaccines that have bacteria which won't evolve/change as fast. This topic needs further investigation, more genes maybe eventually be found to control genetic recombination.