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Growing wheat in drought conditions may be easier in the future, thanks to new genetic research out of the University of California, Davis.
An international team of scientists found that the right number of copies of a specific group of genes can stimulate longer root growth, enabling wheat plants to pull water from deeper supplies. The resulting plants have more biomass and produce higher grain yield, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.
The research provides novel tools to modify wheat root architecture to withstand low water conditions, said Gilad Gabay, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis and the first author on the paper.