Cereals that defy the drought


Genome decoding provides information about dry and heat-resistant cereals

An international consortium headed by the "International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics" (ICRISAT) has sequenced the genome of the dry-resistant cereal plant Pennisetum glaucum (pearl millet) with a research team of the system biologist Wolfram Weckwerth from the University of Vienna. This plant has great importance for agriculture in dry regions in Africa and Asia. Pearl millet is able to deliver yields despite high dryness and high temperatures up to 42 ° C, in contrast to wheat, rice and maize. The study is currently published in "Nature Biotechnology".

The natural range of plant adaptations to different climates is unmanageable. The exploration of this natural genetic biodiversity within plant families, species and also plant species is one of the greatest treasures of human knowledge. This genetic diversity is also the key to dealing with global climate change and its consequences for agriculture. For the purpose of sustainable research, breeding and preservation of the genetic diversity of the food plants in particular, many public non-profit institutions have joined forces within an international organization and are actively involved in the research, breeding and building of non-profit biobanks.

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