Biotech Updates

Plants Give Up Some Deep Secrets of Drought Resistance

August 27, 2010

A team of researchers from University of Wisconsin (UW) studying the mechanism of drought resistance in plants have identified the protein targets of the plant hormone abscisic acid. The work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is of utmost importance because of the current need to expand and intensify agricultural production on marginal lands worldwide in the midst of the global climate change.

"Most plants have what's called a permanent wilting point, where if water content goes below 90 percent or so, they don't just dehydrate and go dormant, they dehydrate and die," said Michael Sussman, a UW-Madison professor of biochemistry. "Figuring out how to trigger a dormant state, such as exists naturally in seeds, which are 10 percent water and can in some cases remain viable for hundreds of years, could be key to creating plants that survive drought in the field", Sussman added.

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