Sowing a future for peas

Sep 16, 2008
Diversity of pea seeds collected from different parts of the world for genetic studies. Credit: John Innes Center

New research from the John Innes Centre and the Central Science Laboratory could help breeders to develop pea varieties able to withstand drought stress and climate change. The research also shows that the composition of crops is likely to change with the climate.

"While many compounds have been reported to change in laboratory based drought stress experiments, few have identified how such compounds change in crops under field conditions," says Dr Claire Domoney of the John Innes Centre.

The researchers used NMR spectroscopy to produce a profile of the levels of all the different small molecules or metabolites in pea plant leaves. This profile, known as the metabolome, was then compared with that from plants subjected to controlled drought stress. The study found several key plant metabolites increased under drought stress, some of which had not previously been shown to be involved.

Less water, especially at critical times in the growing season, means lower yield and quality. This new information could be used to identify varieties of pea and other pulse crops that are more tolerant to changes in water availability.

Source: Norwich BioScience Institutes

Explore further: Too hot: Temperatures messing with sex of Australian lizards

Related Stories

Scientists recruit public to help study "The Blob"

Jun 30, 2015

A huge mass of unusually warm water that scientists have dubbed "The Blob" has lurked off the West Coast for much of the past two years and speculation is growing that it may be connected in some way with the drought plaguing ...

Tree rings confirm unprecedented warming in Central Asia

Jun 11, 2015

A new study of tree rings from Mongolia dating back more than 1,000 years confirms that recent warming in central Asia has no parallel in any known record. In recent decades, temperatures have been ascending ...

Heat accelerates dry in California drought

May 29, 2015

Although record low precipitation has been the main driver of one of the worst droughts in California history, abnormally high temperatures have also played an important role in amplifying its adverse ef ...

Recommended for you

'Map of life' predicts ET. (So where is he?)

2 hours ago

Extra-terrestrials that resemble humans should have evolved on other, Earth-like planets, making it increasingly paradoxical that we still appear to be alone in the universe, the author of a new study on ...

Baby seals that practice in pools make better divers

2 hours ago

Being able to dive is what matters most for seal pups, but how do they learn to do it? Grey seal pups that can play in pools may have better diving skills once they make the move to the sea, and this could ...

Insect legs give clues to improving aircraft design

2 hours ago

Insect legs could help engineers improve the safety of long tubular structures used in aircraft to reduce weight and in hospital equipment, such as catheters. Scientists from Trinity College Dublin are looking ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.