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Genetically Manipulating Plants Can Reduce their Water Needs

Monday, March 16, 2015 12:00 am EDT
"We now have genetic tools to pre-adapt crops to future, drier climates. The goal here is to maintain or improve productivity with less water"

Improving the efficiency by which crops use water is a critical priority for regions facing increased drought or diminished groundwater resources. Now researchers have found that this can be achieved by genetically altering plants’ stomata, the tiny openings on the leaf surface through which carbon dioxide is absorbed and water evaporates.

“We now have genetic tools to pre-adapt crops to future, drier climates. The goal here is to maintain or improve productivity with less water,” said Dr. Peter Franks, lead author of the New Phytologist study.

Franks, P. J., W. Doheny-Adams, T., Britton-Harper, Z. J. and Gray, J. E. (2015), Increasing water-use efficiency directly through genetic manipulation of stomatal density. New Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.13347

Contact:

For more information about this study please contact, sciencenewsroom@wiley.com.

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