Researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, have recently discovered a particular plant gene that could be used to grant drought-proof traits to future crops such as wheat or rice.
The technique involves replacing a missing gene, rather than the splicing of genes, so could be seen as a less controversial way to genetically enhance crops. It might even be possible to introduce the gene through systematic interbreeding, the age-old way to genetically alter plants that has been used throughout human history.
Obviously, this has some important outcomes in a future that will likely be deeply affected by climate change. It is no coincidence that the research has been conducted in Australia, a country that has been wracked by drought for many years and with all indications showing that this will get worse. The findings, however, could certainly be used throughout many areas of the world that require crops be grown with little water resources – and we can be assured that we are increasingly going to see the need for such an advancement in agriculture.
Climate change has already had an impact on millions of lives around the world, and the effect is only going to get more and more pronounced. Developments such as this are necessary in order to cope with the inevitable changes, and are particularly important when it comes to sources of food.
I often feel that there is too much discussion on how to stop climate change, rather than how we are going to cope with it when it happens. Research such as this shows that there are many dedicated people out there looking for practical solutions to some cataclysmic problems that are just over the horizon.