Plants without Water
Comparative and Functional Genomics of Dehydration
"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 info]
Plants 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.

Mel Oliver 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 plants.

A project summary, research proposal, bibliography of desiccation-tolerance studies and a series of related links are available on this website. Please look around and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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