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Utrecht Biologists Discover A Way to Make Plants Flood Tolerant
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: September 14, 2019 06:51AM

Global warming has resulted not only in increased incidences of drought and
heatwaves but also increased rainfall which brings higher flood risk.
Flooding is a major problem for crops as too much water deprives them of
oxygen and suffocates them. Scientists at Utrecht University have discovered
how some plants quickly detect being underwater when flooded, and how these
plants initiate processes that prevent them from drowning.

The scientists found that plants use the hormone ethylene as a signal to
trigger underwater survival reactions. According to the study, ethylene
accumulation in flooded plants triggers a survival response at an early
stage, even before the oxygen levels drop.

Sjon Hartman, a plant biologist at the Plant Ecophysiology group at Utrecht
University said, "A plant that goes into survival mode early can last longer
underwater and that can make the difference between life and death."
Research leaders Dr. Rashmi Sasidharan and Prof. Rens Voesenek said their
discovery holds great potential for the future development of flood-tolerant
crops. "Now that we know the genes associated with flooding survival, we can
introduce them back into plants that lack them and thus program flooded
plants to go into survival mode sooner," they added.


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