Arabidopsis thaliana, a flowering plant frequently studied by biologists, has climate-sensitive genes whose expression was found to evolve. Photo: Penn State
Using supercomputers to analyze hundreds of thousands of genetic markers in a thousand plant samples, scientists say they have found how a common weed uses its genetic code to adapt to changes in its environment such as cold temperatures and drought.
The findings add to our knowledge of how plant life evolves, and could be used to help breed crops that are more adaptable to climate change, the researchers say.
Filed under Climate, Science
First posted on the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog on April 13, 2012
A house swept to sea by the 2011 tsunami that struck northern Japan. Photo: U.S. Navy
The people living on the northeast coast of Japan had learned to expect large earthquakes. But despite being one of the best-prepared nations, they were caught off-guard by the force of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated their coastline and led to the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Many areas of the world are far less prepared, and the effects of major earthquakes, hurricanes and floods can be even more far-reaching than they have been in Japan. But there are measures we can take to lessen the impacts of such events. A worldwide effort is underway to improve resilience against the forces of nature, and to link that effort to sustainable economic development.
Filed under Climate, Stories