Scientists develop more robust crops –

Scientists develop more robust crops


Scientists expect bioengineering of crops that can grow in difficult conditions by discovering the secrets of drought-resistant plants.

In the United States, a team from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory of the Department of Energy (ORNL) has identified genes that facilitate the survival of plants such as Kalanchoë orchid and pineapple, in "semi-arid conditions"

Through a type of photosynthesis called crasuláceo acid metabolism process (or CAM), plants close their pores during the day and open them to absorb carbon dioxide at night.

"CAM is a proven mechanism to increase the efficiency of water use in plants," said Xiaohan Yang of ORNL. "As we reveal the basic components that make up CAM photosynthesis, we can bioengineer the metabolic processes of heavy crops such as rice, wheat, soybeans and poplar to accelerate their adaptation to environments with limited water."

The findings, published in Nature Communications, follow another breakthrough by scientists in Japan, earlier this year, who pioneered a variety of drought-resistant rice.

Both important discoveries in offering solutions to the challenges of feeding a growing population, at a time of increasing pressures on climate change.

bioengineering, hedgerows

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