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The weed that can feed the world.

Entered By: grant on December 31, 2012 No Observations

Well, maybe not *directly*… but Science Daily explains how scientists are watching Arabidopsis thaliana, a fast-growing, globally found weed known as mouse-eared cress, to learn how plants can produce even in tough growing conditions:

Unlike crops, which for millennia have been selectively refined to express certain traits, Arabidopsis has not been cultivated and thus has not suffered the same loss of genetic diversity. This robust genetic makeup contributes to the plant’s tolerance of stresses associated with climate change and rising temperatures: increased carbon dioxide concentrations, drought, salinity, and mineral limitation and toxicity.

“Ideally, if we can understand better the genetic diversity of this species, we can begin to explore the possibility of related biotechnological manipulations within crop species,” [Penn State University Waller Professor of Plant Biology Dr. Sarah Assmann] says. “Here we have a great opportunity to harness the genetic variation in Arabidopsis to inform crop improvement efforts and ameliorate the effects of climate change on crop yield.”

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