24 Oct 2011:
Study Offers New Insights
Into Planting Flood-Tolerant Crops
Scientists say they have identified the molecular mechanism that enables plants to detect and cope with low oxygen levels
that occur when roots or shoots are inundated with water, a development they say
University of Nottingham
Water added to the Arabidopsis plant
could help farmers breed high-yield, flood-tolerant crops as flooding becomes more common globally. In a study published in Nature
, scientists from the University of California, Riverside and the University of Nottingham in the UK describe the subtle changes they observed in the metabolism of plants after they were fully or partially submerged. Specifically, in tests on Arabidopsis
, a small flowering plant species, they identified proteins that are actually unstable when oxygen levels are normal, but become more stable when oxygen levels drop, such as during exposure to increased amounts of water; this trait enhances the plants’ ability to survive in flood conditions. Researchers say that in years to come scientists might be able to manipulate this trait, called the protein turnover mechanism, to develop crops capable of surviving flood conditions.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.