New research coming out of the Scripps Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego, has determined the molecular structure for a drought-tolerant plant hormone called abscisic acid.
In drought conditions, plants begin to produce more of this hormone, which creates a number of changes to their physical structure. Their seeds lie dormant in the ground in order to wait out the dry period. They slow their growth in order to conserve energy. Tiny pores in their leaves are closed in order to prevent water from being lost.
Understanding how abscisic acid works in plants can help scientists replicate this phenomenon for farmers whose crops are suffering from drought conditions. R&D such as this can help agricultural producers adapt to the impacts of climate change.