Research of desert plants can help farmers across the world - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Research of desert plants can help farmers across the world

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Crop losses in Lubbock will go into the millions if not billions of dollars this year. The drought and heat are to blame. A Team of Texas researchers are developing crops that will tolerate drought and heat.

As farmers pray for rain, a researcher at UNT is looking for ways to help plants survive these conditions.

University of Texas researcher Dr. Ron Mittler says, "If you go out to the fields, you will see devastation. Crops are dying. Unless you can water the crops, you have lost them already."

Dr. Ron Mittler has studied plants that can tolerate drought conditions and hopes to have developed a way to save agricultural plants in times of great heat.  They can take a combination of drought and heat and survive.

"I just need to teach the crops to be like the desert plants."

Mittler and his research team wants to pinpoint specific genes that are important for desert plants' survival and then put those genes in other crops.

It's research that would reach much further than north Texas. He believes that if he can find out how to replicate the habits of desert plants could help the entire world.  

While no plants are completely resistant to these extreme conditions, Mittler says even a slight improvement could have monumental effects.

"Even a 10% improvement in yield production will save billions of dollars… but we are looking for more than the slightest, we are trying to save those crops. Dr. Ron Mittler university of Texas researcher," says Mittler.

Farmers believe that this could help so much when combating the extreme weather, "That would be tremendous.," says one farmer.

If this study is proven to be effective, this will help give crops a fighting chance in the extreme elements mother nature hashes out.

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