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Crop Biotech Update

Gene Discovery in Wild Barley May Lead to Stress Tolerant Crops

July 29, 2011

Eibi1 gene was recently discovered by a group of researchers of the University of Haifa, Israel led by Guoxiong Chen to be responsible for the production of cutin. Its discovery was an offshoot of eight long years of study after a barley mutant was found in the Judean desert, which exhibit an abnormal increase in water loss because of a disruption of the plant's cutin.

This discovery could be the element that could explain how aquatic plants were able to evolve and survive in land. According to Prof. Eviatar Nevo of the Institute of Evolution of the University of Haifa, who took part in the study, once the mechanism of cutin production is fully understood, enhancement of cuticle formation of wheat and barley species can be easily conducted to make them more resistant to water loss.

See the original news in Hebrew at