Growing plants with less water?


Scientists have grown plants that can thrive on 25% less water than wild-type plants. During photosynthesis, plants lose water when they open their pores to absorb CO2. Using tobacco plants as a test, researchers modified a gene to make more of a protein, causing the plants pores to open less during photosynthesis. This resulted in 25% less water loss, without stifling plant growth. Since this gene is found in all plants, researchers hope to get similar results on food crops, to make them more drought-resistant. Genetics lab research conducted by Dr. Lauriebeth Leonelli and Professor Kris Niyogi, UC Berkeley and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Plan research and field trials conducted by Professor Stephen Long and colleagues, University of Illinois.

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