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Reprogramming plants to do better during droughts

Photo credit: Smithsonian

(Blend Images/Corbis)

Creating Drought-Tolerant Plants By Hacking Their Natural Responses

Which new technique will help plants survive with less water?

SMITHSONIAN.COM
EXCERPT
In a new study, published in Nature, botanists pioneered a new strategy for reprogramming plants to do better during droughts. It began with the plants’ natural technique for dealing with drought: they produce a hormone called abscisic acid (ABA) when they don’t have enough water. ABA closes a plant’s stomata (cells that let carbon dioxide in and out), preventing water loss. In 2009, Sean Cutler and his team at the University of California, Riverside, identified the proteins in charge of those responses, as Nature News explains.
Read the full text: Smithsonian

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.