Scientists from The University of Sheffield have discovered that developing
a high-yielding rice variety with reduced stomatal density helps the crop
conserve water and survive high temperatures and drought.
The study, conducted in collaboration with the International Rice Research
Institute (IRRI) found that low stomatal density rice lines used just 60
percent of the normal amount of water. Grown at elevated atmospheric carbon
dioxide levels, the low stomatal density rice plants survived drought and
high temperature (40o C) longer than the unaltered plants.
Julie Gray, Professor of Plant Molecular Biology and lead author of the
study, said, "Stomata help plants regulate their water use, so this study
could have a significant impact on other crops which are at risk under