Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant Geneticist Identifies Drought-Tolerant Gene

Date:
October 29, 1998
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
A University of Toronto botanist has discovered a method involving gene suppression that will enable a plant's leaves to stay green long after the last watering.

House plants that tolerate neglect. Lawns that need less watering. Crops that survive longer with little rain or irrigation. Vegetables that stay fresher in the market. Bouquets that stay fragrant for weeks.

Related Articles


These possibilities are a step closer, thanks to a U of T professor's isolation of the gene that controls drought tolerance in plants. Botanist Peter McCourt has discovered a method involving gene suppression that will enable a plant's leaves to stay green long after the last watering. "Drought is obviously a problem for farmers worldwide; these genetically engineered plants will be able to wait out periods of drought without dying." In October, he co-authored a paper in the journal Science outlining his discovery.

The plant hormone abscisic acid triggers the closure of the plant's stomata -- minute pores located on the leaf -- in times of stress. McCourt has discovered abscisic acid is controlled by the ERA1 gene and that by inhibiting the gene's action, a plant becomes super-sensitive to drought. By suppressing the gene -- and thereby keeping the stomata closed -- he found it is possible to control water loss so plants last longer despite the onset of adverse conditions.

While shutting down the action of the gene inhibits growth and thereby would lower crop yields, McCourt believes farmers facing drought would prefer retaining at least a portion of their crop as opposed to losing everything. He remains confident that further research will find a way to inhibit the action of the gene only when drought is anticipated.

The initial results of McCourt's research may be useful in applications such as the cut flower industry. He has licensed his discovery to Kingston-based Performance Plants, a small biotechnology company working on a drought-tolerant strain of canola, one of Canada's leading export crops.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Plant Geneticist Identifies Drought-Tolerant Gene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981028144738.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (1998, October 29). Plant Geneticist Identifies Drought-Tolerant Gene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981028144738.htm
University Of Toronto. "Plant Geneticist Identifies Drought-Tolerant Gene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981028144738.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins