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.

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 September 2, 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 September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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