Although close relatives, Lindernia brevidens and Lindernia subracemosa respond very differently to a lack of water.
Photo: Xiaomin Song/University of Bonn

02.11.2018

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A team of researchers from Germany and the USA have decoded the genome of two plants that show different degrees of tolerance to drought periods. They have discovered some characteristic differences that appear to relate to drought tolerance.

One mystery that has continued to baffle botanists is that whereas some plants can cope with weeks of dryness, others already sustain damage after lacking water for only a short period. Researchers have been seeking reasons for this difference across the globe. For if one knew the causes, new, drought-resistant varieties could perhaps be bred.

Over the last decades, a number of mechanisms have already been explained contributing to insensitiveness to drought. Research is nevertheless still groping in the dark in many areas. This is also because it is difficult to compare drought-tolerant and drought-sensitive species with one another. Often, their differences are so great that it is difficult to assess which ones are relevant for drought tolerance.

Now, together with colleagues from the USA, researchers at the University of Bonn, Germany, have decoded the genomes of two plants that show different degrees of drought tolerance. They have discovered some characteristic differences that probably relate to how these plants cope with dryness.

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