Biotech Updates

University of Sydney Scientists Developing Heat Tolerant Crops

January 30, 2013

Taking the cue from the 2012 drought in the USA, a team of scientists from the University of Sydney led by Dr. Daniel Tan, is working on a program to develop Australian crops that can resist heat by using national variations in crop genetic collections from around the world. The team works with scientists from the countries where the crops originated, and where crop materials are tested for heat tolerance in different locations.

In Australia, crops vulnerable to heat stress include wheat, chickpea and cotton. The team's current tests include searching for cotton varieties which can still photosynthesize successfully at high temperatures and chickpea strains that can pollinate in very hot conditions.

Dr. Tan said that "While we are concentrating on crops grown in Australia, our work has obvious implications for agriculture worldwide given the documented trend of rising temperatures. The vulnerability of these crops, which feed millions of people, means our work has global relevance."

For more details about this research, read