Biotech Updates

International Consortium Sequences Resurrection Plant to Develop Drought Tolerant Crops

March 29, 2017

An international research team led by Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands has sequenced the genome of Xerophyta viscosa, also called the ‘resurrection plant.'

In their paper published in Nature Plants, the team reveals a genetic ‘footprint' of the amazing ability of this plant to tolerate severe drought for long periods of time. The team hopes their results will contribute to a faster development of food crops that are resilient enough to cope with foreseen global climate changes.

Maria-Cecília D. Costa and Mariana A. S. Artur of the Laboratory of Plant Physiology of Wageningen University & Research studied desiccating plants and the associated gene expression patterns. The team did not find a link between genes active during desiccation and genes known for their activity during drought-induced senescence. However, the team did find a link with genes involved in seed ripening, a process that allows seeds to survive many years of dry storage. According to Costa, these findings could mean that X. viscosa acquired its desiccation tolerance from ancestors that evolved genes that allow seeds to survive drying.

For more details, read the news release at Wageningen University & Research News.