Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can observations of a hardy weed help feed the world?

Date:
December 20, 2012
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Scientists have explored how the responses to environmental stresses by one small, genetically diverse plant species might illuminate possible approaches to addressing growing human demand for crop products amid decreasing resources.

As the human population increases, so too do the demands and stresses on agriculture. In the January 2013 issue of International Journal of Plant Sciences, Penn State University Waller Professor of Plant Biology Dr. Sarah Assmann explores how the responses to environmental stresses by one small, genetically diverse plant species might illuminate possible approaches to addressing growing human demand for crop products amid decreasing resources.

Related Articles


In the article, Dr. Assmann describes how human population growth presents new challenges to twenty-first-century agriculture, especially since such abiotic stresses as climate change and poor-quality soils can disrupt the ability of many crops to flourish and provide sufficient calories, nutrients, and other resources. According to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, Earth's population will reach nine billion people by the year 2050. To meet the needs of this population, Dr. Assmann says, plant biologists must study how and why some plants are heartier and more capable than others of tolerating these stresses.

Dr. Assmann's focus is on a small flowering plant, a distant cousin of cabbage and canola that can be found growing wild across much of the globe. She explains that this species, Arabidopsis thaliana (also known as mouse-eared cress), is an ideal study system in part because it has not been domesticated. Unlike crops, which for millennia have been selectively refined to express certain traits, Arabidopsis has not been cultivated and thus has not suffered the same loss of genetic diversity. This robust genetic makeup contributes to the plant's tolerance of stresses associated with climate change and rising temperatures: increased carbon dioxide concentrations, drought, salinity, and mineral limitation and toxicity.

"Ideally, if we can understand better the genetic diversity of this species, we can begin to explore the possibility of related biotechnological manipulations within crop species," Dr. Assmann says. "Here we have a great opportunity to harness the genetic variation in Arabidopsis to inform crop improvement efforts and ameliorate the effects of climate change on crop yield."

The International Journal of Plant Sciences is proud to present Dr. Sarah Assmann's research in its 2013 Coulter Review. The annual Review represents a unique opportunity for scientists working at the forefront of their fields to share their insights and updates on the latest developments in plant biology. The Review is named in honor of John Merle Coulter (1851-1928), the first Head Professor of Botany at the University of Chicago and creator of the journal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah M. Assmann. Natural Variation in Abiotic Stress and Climate Change Responses inArabidopsis: Implications for Twenty-First-Century Agriculture. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 2012; 000 DOI: 10.1086/667798

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Can observations of a hardy weed help feed the world?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121220143936.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2012, December 20). Can observations of a hardy weed help feed the world?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121220143936.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Can observations of a hardy weed help feed the world?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121220143936.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Buzz60 (Nov. 20, 2014) Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer teamed up with entomologist Aaron Pomerantz and others to investigate a predatory glow worm found in the Amazon. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Huge Snow Covers Buffalo Streets

Raw: Huge Snow Covers Buffalo Streets

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) A new blast of lake-effect snow roared through western New York with thunder and lightning on Thursday, raising to nearly 6 feet the three-day total in parts of the Buffalo area. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Report Warns of Global Chocolate Shortage

Report Warns of Global Chocolate Shortage

Buzz60 (Nov. 20, 2014) A new report warns the world could face a 2.2-billion pound chocolate shortage within the next five years. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
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