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New insight into how plants survive drought

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Plant cell biologists at the University of California, Riverside have made significant headway in the understanding of how plants and crops can survive drought. Sean Cutler's lab discovered that in drought conditions, certain receptor proteins in plants can perceive a stress hormone produced naturally by plants, which helps them survive by inhibiting their growth in times when water is scarce.

Cutler:            The molecule is like the voice on the megaphone and the receptor hears the voice and then relays the orders to the cell and so what my lab was able to do was to find out what that receptor was, the critical piece at the top of the relay process that tells the cell what to do when drought is around.

Narrator:       This breakthrough research has important agricultural implications.

Cutler:            Agriculture is really one of the places where we put most of our water and so technologies that can improve the ability of farmers to get more out of their crops with less water are seen as extremely important in the future and now.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.