News International Sugar Journal

Identification of a key genetic mechanism may help develop strategies against plant stress [Registered]

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered a key genetic switch by which plants control their response to ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone best known for its ability to ripen fruit, but which, under stress conditions, can cause wilted leaves, premature aging and spoilage from over-ripening. The findings, published August 30 in Science magazine, may hold the key to manipulating plants’ ethylene on/off switch, allowing them to balance between drought resistance and growth and, therefore, decrease crop losses during water stress. “In different stress conditions—-flooding, drought, chilling, wounding or pathogen attack—-ethylene tells plants to make adjustments…

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