Genetic tweak makes plants use 25% less water


  1. By altering a single gene, scientists coaxed tobacco plants — a model crop often used in experiments — to grow to near normal size with only 75 percent of the water they usually require.
  2. “Making crop plants more water-use efficient is arguably the greatest challenge for current and future plant scientists,” said lead author Johannes Kromdijk, also from the University of Illinois.
  3. In the genetically engineered plants, increased levels of PsbS caused the tiny leaf pores to close earlier than they normally would, allowing the plant to retain more precious liquid.
  4. Researchers have unveiled a genetic modification that enables plants to use a quarter less water with scant reduction in yield.
  5. By 2030, the planet will face a 40 percent water deficit if global warming continues at its current pace, according to the UN World Water Development report.
  6. Ironically, this gain in water storage is only made possible by global warming, which has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 25 percent since 1950.


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