Biotech scientists at the University of California, Berkeley received $12.3 million from the Department of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research Program. The researchers aim to develop an in-depth understanding of drought tolerance in field-grown sorghum.
The first paper from this study is out now. And the new research has some interesting findings – it shows exposing sorghum plants to drought can change the balance between certain microorganisms in root systems.
The study was published in PNAS. It suggests that drought plays a key role in restructuring the development of early root microbiome. This finding couldn’t come at a better time, as it may help scientists develop climate-change resistant crops.
“We hope our work will provide similar strategies in other less drought-tolerant crops that can be used to increase our capacity to provide food and animal feed in the face of challenges from climate change,” said Peggy Lemaux, a faculty member in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. “In the end, this treatment strategy might give plants one more tool to help them survive drought.”