Drought-tolerant petunia could lead to similar advancements
(NC)—A petunia that can survive without water for longer periods of time may just be the start of a whole new range of ornamental and edible drought-tolerant plants.
Building on recent discoveries that have made it easier to understand which DNA sequences are responsible for what functions, researchers at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in the Niagara region of Ontario, set out to identify which gene in the petunia was responsible for managing hydration. They achieved their goal last summer and the accomplishment is viewed as a first step toward improving a whole range of commonly grown plants.
“The process we used is very similar to what happens in nature,” says Dr. Daryl Somers of Vineland Research. “Because we now have better information about the DNA sequences, we are able to essentially mimic how a natural variation would occur. “With this one example of a changed petunia, we can use it to breed other petunias with the same characteristics.”
Based on this project, Vineland has started new projects to develop impatiens, tomatoes and peppers with enhanced characteristics ranging from greater stress tolerance to improved consumer appeal.
“Understanding how these plants function at the genetic level means one day we may be able to tailor plants for specific regional conditions,” Somers adds..
Word count: 218
Articles are provided free of charge. Articles appearing on web sites, must credit www.newscanada.com. Articles appearing in Print, must credit News Canada with (NC) at beginning of an article or – News Canada at the end. Any source/sponsor of the information quoted in the text must also be identified as presented. Images are only to be used with corresponding editorial copy. Usage of News Canada articles constitutes your acceptance of these terms and an agreement between you and News Canada.