The arabidopsis is the lab rat of plants. It's the perfect test subject due to a few things. The weed was the first plant to be fully mapped because of its short genome. The unique way its code can be changed is another. The process is difficult for most plants. A petri dish is used to introduce new genetic material to the plants. New roots and stems must be created for those modified cells to grow. arabidopsis has a short cut. The messages will be carried straight to the seeds, which can be planted, if biologists dip the flowers into a solution filled with genes. That is going at a fast pace in the field of botany.

It took a long time to figure out what the SA genes did. The environment must be tampered with to see what goes wrong. When SA production got hot, they wanted to find a gene that controls whatever step was holding it back. It took a decade for the answer to be found. They modified the plants' genes and looked at the results. The plants withered from disease despite what they did. He said that you wouldn't believe how many failed experiments we had. Major leads such as another's lab identification of heat-Responsive genes that affect flowering and growth ended in disappointment. Generations of graduate students continued to work on the project. His job is to be their cheerleader.

The lab was able to find a winner. A number of the steps involved in making SA could be accomplished with the help of the CBP60g gene. The process of taking genetic instructions and making a product was being stopped by an intermediate step. To get around it was the key. The researchers were able to do that by introducing a new stretch of code that was taken from a virus. The change helped restore genes that were being suppressed by heat.

Rapeseed is a close cousin of arabidopsis and his team is testing the genes on it. He says that it is a good plant to work with because it is more likely to be affected by rising temperatures than other plants. The team has been able to turn the immune response back on in the lab, but they need to do some field testing. wheat, soybeans, and potatoes are possibilities.

According to an expert in plant immunity at Colorado State University who wasn't involved in the research, He's genetic fix would work across many plants. It is only one of many immune pathways that need to be explored. Increasing humidity or a sustained heat that lasts through the entire growing season are other variables that affect plant immunity. He says that it gives you a general idea of what goes wrong and how you can fix it. Basic science can be used to decipher plant genes.

Consumers will have to accept more genetic tinkering with their food for this to work. More crop loss and more pesticides can be used to prevent it. Climate change will force us to learn things in the lab and move them into the field quicker. Without more acceptance of genetically modified plants, I can't see how we'll be able to do this.