Environmental Monitor

From February 2015 to November 2015 I was a freelance science writing intern for Fondriest Environmental's magazine Environmental Monitor, which covers technological advancements in monitoring systems for air and water quality in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams. Here you will find my entire collection of short briefs and longer form features written for the magazine. 

U. Nebraska Team Works To Make Plants More Resilient To Drought

By Cassie Kelly, July 6, 2015

The problem of drought is becoming ever more present in Americans’ daily lives, but how are the plants responding to it? Scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have studied how some plants may be turning off their defense mechanisms against drought-like conditions, according to a release.

The team studied Arabidopsis thaliana, a common plant used in research, to look at how it turns off its defenses and then genetically mutated two different genes in an effort to help it battle drought. However, the mutated plants were unsuccessful. They were even more susceptible to drought, wilted faster and died quicker than the ones that were not mutated.

The team believes that the non-mutated Arabidopsis has a process in which it releases higher levels of phosphorylated histones when experiencing drought. But, when the plant was mutated, it lacked this process, and performed even worse.

The research does not end here. The team at UNL is determined to expand on their research by finding a way to make plants more resilient.