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Back from the Dead

Genetically modified chickpea plants

Genetically modified chickpea plants that express a pro-survival gene derived from Australian resurrection plants (Tripogon loliiformis) are more stress-tolerant. This image shows non-GM (left) and GM (right) chickpea plants that had been drought-stressed at flowering by applying half volumes of water for 30 days. This photo was captured after an additional 35 days without watering.

By Brett Williams & Sagadevan Mundree

Resurrection plants can survive for years in an air-dry state before growing at full capacity when the rain comes. How do they do it, and can this trait be transferred to improve the tolerance of crops to drought, heat, salinity and infection?

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