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Answering a four decade-old question on epicuticular wax biosynthesis
In this issue of Journal of Experimental Botany (pages 2715-2730) Schneider et al. report the identity of three genes from barley described in the 1970s as important for the synthesis of beta-diketone cuticular waxes, thereby revealing a novel polyketide synthase pathway responsible for their production. It is a perfect example of how modern sequencing technologies can resolve age-old questions on important food crops.