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Genetically manipulating plants can reduce their water needs

March 16th, 2015
Improving the efficiency by which crops use water is a critical priority for regions facing increased drought or diminished groundwater resources.

Now researchers have found that this can be achieved by genetically altering plants' stomata, the tiny openings on the leaf surface through which carbon dioxide is absorbed and water evaporates.

"We now have genetic tools to pre-adapt crops to future, drier climates. The goal here is to maintain or improve productivity with less water," said Dr. Peter Franks, lead author of the New Phytologist study.

More information:
Franks, P. J., W. Doheny-Adams, T., Britton-Harper, Z. J. and Gray, J. E. (2015), Increasing water-use efficiency directly through genetic manipulation of stomatal density. New Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.13347

Provided by Wiley

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