Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have isolated novel genes from an Australian resurrection plant using innovative strategies. The isolated genes have been characterized and demonstrate functional sufficiency to osmotic stress at the whole plant level. In addition the researchers are developing a tightly regulated expression system that would control tissue specificity and stress-inducibility. Rice Energy Cane Banana and Cotton have been identified as potential agricultural crops to transfer the abiotic stress tolerance genes into for testing in the greenhouse and later on field trials. Abiotic stresses are widespread with approximately 40% of the world’s agricultural land being arid or semi-arid regions that suffer from transient droughts. Of these stresses drought and salinity stresses are the most common challenge for food production worldwide resulting in significant crop losses and yield reductions. Development Status: An opportunity exists for industry players to partner with bluebox to further develop this promising technology.
Potential benefits of increasing stress tolerance of current commercial crops include: -Insured and enhanced crop yields -Efficient use of water cost savings on irrigated land -Enable the agricultural use of marginal land -Improving crop security under adverse conditions