Plants ‘Remember’ Droughts To Prepare


LINCOLN, Neb. (UPI) — Plants can “remember” drought and change responses to the stress to survive, a finding that could lead to more drought-resistant crops, U.S. researchers say.

The study confirms the scientific basis for what home gardeners and nursery professionals have long known, that transplants do better when water is withheld for a few days to “drought harden” them before the move, they said.

“This phenomenon of drought hardening is in the common literature but not really in the academic literature,” Michael Fromm, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln plant scientist, said. “The mechanisms involved in this process seem to be what we found.”

The researchers compared the reaction of plants that had been previously stressed by withholding water to those not previously stressed and found the pre-stressed plants bounced back more quickly the next time they were dehydrated, a university release reported.

The pre-stressed plants responded to dehydration by increasing transcription of a certain subset of genes, the scientists said, and in subsequent drought periods the plants remember their transcriptional response to stress and induce these genes to higher levels.

“The plants ‘remember’ dehydration stress. It will condition them to survive future drought stress and transplanting,” Fromm said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.