Water Comparative and Functional Genomics of Dehydration
Announcement: "A symposium on desiccation tolerance in plants,
microbes, and animals will be held at the Society for
Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting, January 4-8,
2005, San Diego, California." [more
die without water :: At
least most of them do
A dried, seemingly dead Star Moss (Tortula ruralis) looks
about as lifeless as steel wool. However, seconds after adding
only a few drops of water the once brown 'Brillo pad' becomes
a lush green mass of individual branches with starlike needles.
Under electron microscopy, dried
star moss reveals incredible cellular damage. "And yet
it somehow repairs most of this damage within minutes,"
says Mel Oliver, a molecular biologist at the USDA's Agricultural
Research Service laboratory). Oliver envisions lawns, rangelands,
and pastures that could do the same.
is the Principle Investigator on the proposed "Plants Without
Water" project. Along with eight
other researchers with diverse expertise that span a multitude
of disciplines, Oliver hopes to uncover the genes and mechanisms by
which Tortula ruralis and other desiccation tolerant plants
regenerate after extreme drought. The understanding of such mechanisms
might allow the genetic engineering of drought resistant crops and