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The pharmaceutical that increases the drought resistance of crop plants

Drought and lack of water are one of the biggest problems in the world of agriculture. Thanks to continuous technical-biological advances and research in this field, a team from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants (CSIC-UPV) and the Rocasolano Institute of Physical Chemistry (CSIC) have managed to activate a phytohormone (ABA) that makes crops more resistant to drought.

What it is and how it has been achieved
ABA is known as abscisic acid, a plant hormone that is key to the plant’s growth and development processes and is capable of providing an adaptive response to stress. This means that when plants are short of water, their endurance can be helped by activating this hormone.

Armando Albert, the scientist leading this study, also tells us that “this is the first time that an ABA receptor has been modified in crop plants to adapt it to a molecule that mimics the phytohormone”.
To reach this result, several biomedical and agricultural biotechnology techniques were applied, and thanks to this method the CSIC-UPV patent was developed.

The aim of the research is to try to reduce the doses of agrochemicals used on crops today, and to improve the adaptability of plants in the face of water shortages, guaranteeing their survival in more critical periods. The results of the study have been published in the journal Science Advances and can be consulted at the following link: Structure-guided engineering of a receptor-agonist pair for inducible activation of the ABA adaptive response to drought.

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