‘Resurrection plants’ offer hope as climate turns hostile


JOHANNESBURG: As the race to adapt to climate change quickens, a South African scientist is leading global research into developing crops that mimic the extraordinary survival skills of “resurrection plants.” Jill Farrant, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of Cape Town, hopes that unlocking the genetic codes of drought-tolerant plants could help farmers toiling in increasingly hot and dry conditions. With more than 130 known varieties in the world, resurrection plants are a unique group of flora that can survive extreme water shortages for years. During a drought, the plant acts like a seed, becoming so dry it appears dead. But when rain returns, the shriveled plant bursts “back to life,” turning green and robust in just a few hours.



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