Jun. 30, 2016
Japanese scientists have discovered a simple genetic modification that can lead to more robust plants. Their findings are published in Plant & Cell Physiology.
Previous study of the same research team revealed the molecular mechanism that was controlling the biological clock of Arabidopsis plants. In their initial trials, they inhibited three pseudo-response regulator (PRR) genes, which led to delayed flowering resulting to larger size and improved adaptability. In the current study, the researchers modified a single PRR gene called PRR5-VP which led to the same outcome as the initial study.
Delayed flowering caused production of twice the plant's biomass and greater resilience to stress. When exposed to freezing temperatures for one day, all of the control plants died, while only half of the PRR5-VP plants died. When exposed to drought for 16 days, all of the PRR5-VP survived, while almost all of the control plants were killed.