Spire's six most recent Spirethoughts.

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Will drought-resistant plants take agriculture by storm?

Water scarcity is a pressing issue in emerging markets. Droughts have affected parts of India and Australia in recent years, wreacking havoc on people’s lives and the economy. Can science help plants become more drought-tolerant?

California’s drought story is not new. So much so that this US state has become synonymous with droughts. Water shortage means tough times for plants. This is where scientist Sean Cutler – from the University of California – brings a glimmer of hope. His unique technology – protein engineering – could help plants survive droughts.

His team found that Abscisic Acid (ABA) – a hormone produced by plants during water shortage – causes the plant to consume less water as well as minimize water loss. Moreover, they suggest using an existing agrochemical to modify the ABA receptor of the plant to control water consumption as well as use water judiciously.

Drought-prone countries such as Brazil, China, India and Pakistan should take lessons from California to better equip plants for possible droughts in future.

Can drought-prone countries use this technology to survive tough conditions?

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