Plants can naturally control the opening and closing of stomata, pores that take in CO{-2} and release water. During drought, a plant might close its stomata to conserve water. By doing so, however, the plant also reduces the amount of CO{-2} it can take in, limiting photosynthesis.

Purdue University researchers have found a genetic mutation that allows a plant to better endure drought without losing biomass, reducing the amount of water required and helping plants survive in adverse conditions.

Researchers found that a genetic mutation in the research plant Arabidopsis thaliana reduces the number of stomata, but without limiting CO{-2} intake. “The plant can only fix so much CO{-2}. The fewer stomata still allow for the same amount of CO{-2} intake as a wild type while conserving water,” said a researcher. — Our Bureau