UCSD researchers decipher molecular "code" capable of controlling plant water loss during droughts

the study included UCSD biologists Sarah P. Chu, Carrie L. Harrington and Yat Y. Yang; Thomas Hoffmann of the Technical University of Munich; and Karin Schumacher of the University of Tubingen, who participated in the experiments at UCSD.

Schroeder emphasizes that his teams discovery is still very much in the realm of basic research and far from any practical applications. "We dont know how to genetically engineer a plant to hit the right frequency to close its stomata in response to a drought," he says. "That lies in the future. But understanding this calcium code means we can now learn more about the mechanisms that control a plants resistance to drought conditions."

"Its given us clues of where to look for the genes and proteins that control the closure of stomata," says Allen. "These are some of the unknown pieces of the puzzle."


Contact: Kim A. McDonald
University of California - San Diego

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