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Crop Biotech Update

Review Shows Biotechnological Strategies to Develop Drought Resistant Crops

May 13, 2020

As a consequence of global warming, the incidence of drought in various regions of the world has been increasing. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in developing countries, drought alone causes more yield loss in crop fields than all pathogens combined, putting food security at risk. In a paper published in Science magazine, researchers from the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) present different biotechnological strategies to achieve drought resistant crops, which could be used to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change on agricultural production.

The CRAG researchers explain that plants use different mechanisms to prevent water loss in ensuring their survival when water is scarce. These natural strategies include changes in the growth and architecture of the roots, closing of the stomata, and acceleration of the reproductive phase.

The team also reviewed different strategies that the scientific community has used to increase plant drought resistance by modifying signaling through the plant hormones abscisic acid (ABA), auxins, and brassinosteroids. One promising approach was discovered by the group led by Ana I. Caño-Delgado in 2018, where they showed that by modifying brassinosteroid hormone signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana through the receptor, BRL3 it was possible to obtain plants more resistant to drought without affecting their growth.

For more details, read the article in CRAG News.

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