" Plants that enter drought-fighting mode quickly and then switch back to normal growth mode quickly when drought stress is gone should be able to allocate energy more efficiently toward growth, Pei concluded."
Washington, Aug 28 - In a major breakthrough which could make it easier to feed the world's growing population in the backdrop of climate change, researchers have identified a gene that could help scientists engineer drought-resistant crops.

The gene called OSCA1 encodes a protein in the cell membrane of plants that senses changes in water availability and adjusts the plant's water conservation machinery accordingly.

The findings could lead to new ways to help plants thrive when water is scarce.

It is similar to a thermostat, said Zhen-Ming Pei, an associate professor of biology at Duke University.

The gene was found in Arabidopsis thaliana - a small, unassuming plant related to cabbage and canola.

The next step is to manipulate the activity of the OSCA1 gene and related genes and see how those plants respond to drought.

Plants that enter drought-fighting mode quickly and then switch back to normal growth mode quickly when drought stress is gone should be able to allocate energy more efficiently toward growth, Pei concluded.

The findings appeared in the journal Nature.


comments powered by Disqus
Read more on:
 DROUGHT (5611 views)
 

PERMALINK

http://www.nerve.in/news:2535002399478
You can quote the permanent link above for a direct link to the story. We do not archive or expire our news stories.


STORY OPTIONS
  Email this story to a friend
  XML feed for Americas


 
COPYRIGHTS INFORMATION
All rights reserved for news content. Reproduction, storage or redistribution of Nerve content and articles in any medium is strictly prohibited.
Contact Nerve Staff for any feedback, corrections and omissions in news stories.
 

All rights reserved for the news content. Reproduction, storage or redistribution of Nerve content and articles in any medium is strictly prohibited.