State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008TX309B
Title: Mitigating demand for irrigated water used in agriculture by genetically enhancing crop plants to be productive in minimal water conditions.
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 17
Focus Categories: Agriculture, Drought, Water Use
Keywords: Drought; Stomata; Biotechnology
Principal Investigators: Mandadi, Kranthi K ; McKnight, Thomas D
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 19,008
Abstract: Conservation of water resources in Texas depends on efficient water usage for consumption and agricultural production. In efforts to alleviate the demand for water used to irrigate crop plants in marginal and water deficit regions without affecting the crop productivity, the proposed research is primarily focused on improving crop species for their drought tolerance and water use efficiency capabilities. Research conducted in our lab with the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana has identified a novel gene, TAC1, which confers vigorous drought tolerance to the plants without compromising the yields. Under water-limited conditions, transgenic tobacco and tomato plants that are over expressing TAC1 also showed similar drought tolerance capabilities. The major focus of the current research is to identify the other components of TAC1 mediated drought tolerance pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana and further apply these results to transgenic cotton and rice, which together account for at least 40% the irrigated agricultural land in Texas. The broader implications of such a study can result in tremendous conservation of water resources by limiting the water used for agriculture both in the state of Texas and across the United States.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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