Building Better Plants

photo of woman with plants outside

Devos-Katrien.jpgUGA plant scientists like professor of plant biology Katrien Devos, pictured, headline the top feature of the new issue of Research Magazine:

In a changing climate, stress tolerance becomes really important, according to Chung-Jui “C.J.” Tsai, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and professor of forestry and natural resources, and genetics. She uses model systems to find mechanisms that are applicable to any plants.

“How do you grow crops—whether they are woody or perennial—under changing climate?” she said. “You could improve the wood quality, but it won’t matter if plants can’t grow under limited water and nutrient reserves. The number one priority is harvestable biomass, which means stress tolerance.”

Tsai’s research has shown that overproducing salicylic acid allows a plant to better tolerate drought and heat. However, it negatively affects growth in annual crops.

“We’re testing molecular remedies in the lab to overcome this growth penalty, with promising results,” she said.

Many people doing great work on a number of fronts, we've written about individuals with grants and publications throughout this year, so it's nice to see the efforts of the UGA Plant Center as a research group prominently acknowledged (with great photography). Keep up the good work.

Image: photo of Katrien Devos by Terry Allen