Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Whenever plants are subjected to extreme stress, such as very high or low temperatures, they do not flower and grow because they divert their food to their embryo. "Their instinct is to protect the next generation," said Wigge. Plants are better adapted to survive, than people are, in that respect. But then they have had a million or so more years to learn that clever trick. They might outlive us.

Agriculture

We Might Still Have Food in the Future After All

Whenever plants are subjected to extreme stress, such as very high or low temperatures, they do not flower and grow because they divert their food to their embryo. “Their instinct is to protect the next generation,” said Wigge.

Plants are better adapted to survive, than people are, in that respect. But then they have had a million or so more years to learn that clever trick. They might outlive us.

We are so lucky to have people still willing to go into science. While scientists have been the recipients of abuse and even death threats for taking on the thankless task of alerting humanity to the dire dangers that we all face from climate change – other scientists have heeded those warnings carefully, rather than hysterically, and put on their thinking caps to innovate solutions.

[social_buttons]

Scientists around the world have worked for a decade to solve one of the most apocalyptic aspects of climate change: that heat kills crops. This work is needed because, even just in the US, an 82% drop in corn and soy is predicted by the end of the century because there will be too many days over 86 degrees Fahrenheit in the Corn Belt, if we keep on adding greenhouse gases at the current rate.

Now, Philip Wigge and Vinod Kumar; two Norwich-based scientists at the John Innes Centre have just had the necessary breakthrough. They subjected grain plants to drought stresses that normally kill them, and isolated genes from survivors to create new variants, and just published their findings in the current edition of the US-based peer-reviewed scientific journal Cell.

They located the “thermometer” gene that helps plants sense temperature; even variations of just one degree Celsius, “and yet no one had asked how plants were able to do this”says Wigge.

They took the lab rat of plant research; the Arabidopsis (mustard) plant and studied all its genes to see which were affected by warmer temperature. It took five years for them to create a mutant plant that had lost its ability to sense temperature correctly. It grew as if the temperature was optimal all the time. The sensitive genes were then used in new plants.

It is possible that these scientists will be able to get it working just in time; within the next ten to fifteen years. In ten years, climate change impacts will be already widespread. Temperatures in the American West and Southwest could average nine degrees Fahrenheit hotter by the end of this century. Australia had to stop irrigating 40% of its crops in 2007.

The worldwide scientific consensus, as summarized in the papers at the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that food production in some regions could be severely compromised by 2020.

Whenever plants are subjected to extreme stress, such as very high or low temperatures, they do not flower and grow because they divert their food to their embryo.

“Their instinct is to protect the next generation,” said Wigge.

Plants are better adapted to survive, than people are, in that respect. They might outlive us. But then they have had a million or so more years to learn that clever trick.

Related stories:

We Learn to Grow Crops in Salt Water

Up to 82% Drop in Corn, Soy and Cotton Crops in USA

California to Lose Crops to Climate Change by 2100

Image: Flikr user 50bybike

Source: IRINNews

More from Susan Kraemer: Journalists on Twitter


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Agriculture

2021's Official Earth Day poster by renowned Brazilian street artist, Speto, conveys an uplifting vision of young people working together to Restore Our Earth.

Climate Change

En-ROADS from MIT and Ventana Systems is an interactive climate science tool that lets anyone explore how making changes to the environment can help...

Climate Change

Often one hears that methane (CH4) is many times worse than carbon dioxide (CO2) as a greenhouse gas.

Air Quality

By most accounts, 2020 has been a rough year for the planet. It was the warmest year on record, just barely exceeding the record set...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.