Friday, November 16, 2018

Plants With Enhanced Drought Resistance Without Compromising Growth

It is clear that climate change is occurring and effecting many different things in our lives. Well, extreme drought is only one of those effects that is already being seen as a decrease in rainfall and abnormally warm temperatures in Europe are causing the death of crops. Drought is seen as one of the biggest problems toward agriculture today. In order to withstand these conditions, the Center for Research in Agriculture Genomics (CRAG) led by Ana Cano- Delgado are modifying the signaling of the plant steroid hormone, called brassinoseroids. By doing this, it will increase hydric stress resistance without effecting how the plant will grow. This discovery was made with only a small plant called Arabidopsis thaliana, but the team who led this research is using what they found to apply the strategy in plants that would be used in agriculture. 

This is happening in California as well. California has been in a drought for years now, and research done by the UC Riverside plant- cell biologists have included the insertion of a new piece of genetic code into tomato crops that "trick" the plant. It keeps the stomata closed, keeping the plant from losing water. These genetically modified plants were able to go twelve days without being re-watered.   Corn crops are being modified, rice in Japan is being modified, etc. I strongly believe that as climate change continues to be a problem, technology has to step in and play an important role; especially if our population continues to increase as it does. Creating these drought resistant plants that don't alter the plants identity, growth, and is allowing for farmers to keeping producing them is a positive thing. The research should continue because at this point I don't see the climate or population issue getting any better, so we need to depend on science. 

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