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.
IPT plants also did well on skimpy rations, achieving at least 85 percent of the usual yield when the researchers cut the water supply to 30 percent of normal. Th