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Drought tolerance in crops: Shutting down the plant's growth inhibition under mild stress
Date:5/11/2011

This is important as in the field drought rarely is severe enough to kill plants, but rather affects their growth. The paper, published in Nature Biotechnology, also shows that plants actively choose to grow slower when water gets limiting, although they have enough resources to keep growing.

Plant hormone ethylene plays major role in stress response

In a follow-up study early leaf growth, entirely driven by cell division, was chosen as a model to unravel the mechanisms underlying this active growth inhibition. Aleksandra Skirycz and Hannes Claeys showed that the plant hormone ethylene shuts down leaf growth very fast after the plant senses limited water availability. If the stress is only temporary, growth can resume nonetheless. This research opens up new approaches to develop crop varieties that keep on growing during mild and temporary spells of drought that occur in the field, avoiding unnecessary yield losses and thus resulting in higher crop productivity.


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Contact: Joris Gansemans
info@vib.be
329-244-6611
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Source:Eurekalert

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