Friday, July 13, 2018

The Sunscreen Gene

Unlike humans, plants are not mobile. This being said, a scorching hot summer day can be terrible for these immobile species.  Japanese researchers from RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science have identified the gene that keeps the chloroplast membranes from destabilizing in high temperatures. They named the gene Heat Inducible Lipase (HIL1).  This newfound knowledge can help researchers develop plants that are more heat tolerant, which could be incredibly important in combating global warming.

Engineering plants to tolerate extreme heat conditions could allow agriculture to expand to regions where plants are usually unable to grow. With ever-changing temperature and precipitation levels, plants that are more tolerant in heat and stressful conditions would be extremely beneficial to our warming world.  

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