Dr. Morris said that their discovery is significant as it will help in
developing drought resistant crops in the future. He said, "As climate
change gathers pace and we experience more extreme seasons, it is essential
we can maintain continuity of supply. This is significant for key industries
like Scotch whiskey, one of the UK's leading export items." He added that
their discovery also has implications for other cereal crops including
wheat, maize, and rice.
According to the research team, identifying one particular gene for drought
resistance has been a challenge as barley has over 39,000 genes, almost
double as the number for humans. The researchers increased the expression of
HvMYB1 in test plants and simulated drought conditions. They were able to
prove that plants with prominently expressed HvMYB1 survived prolonged
periods of drought.