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So Sproutish: Anti-aging gene for plants gives drought protection

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12:34pm, November 28, 2007

A gene for simulating youth in plants offers an unusual approach to protecting crops from drought, says an international research team.

The gene IPT, borrowed from a bacterium, codes for an enzyme that can delay the stress-triggered senescence of plant leaves.

Tobacco plants genetically engineered to express IPT at critical moments stayed green during a lab test when researchers stopped watering them for 15 days, says Eduardo Blumwald of the University of California, Davis.

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