What’s Going On Here?
Scientists have made a massive break-through in ensuring our crops are resistant to future climate change, isolating the drought resistance gene in barley.
What Does This Mean?
Scientists have analysed over 39,000 genes within the barley over five years, and their findings show that plants with a certain gene (HvMYB1 to be precise) are more resistant to droughts than their counterparts. There are hopes that this research can be applied to other cereal crops, helping to future-proof our main food staple (bread, pasta, rice…) as temperatures rise.
Why Should We Care?
Because climate change is already having a large impact on where and what types of food can be grown, and we only have limited space available to feed us all!
Our changing climate is already having an impact on agriculture, with France reporting a 12% loss in wine production this year due to extreme weather (not what we like to hear 🍷!). Even our favourite fruit, the banana 🍌, isn’t safe – with a recent study suggesting that some of the largest exporters of the yummy peelable snack could face lower yields in the future with rising temperatures and changing rain patterns!
The drought-resistant gene in barley is one of many innovations that are being undertaken to ensure our food supply is sustainable and resistant to the impacts of climate change. Here at curious.earth, we’ve also stumbled across a few more agricultural innovations that we thought were…well…curious…
- Small Robot Company – small robots that farm each individual plant rather than having to farm using inefficient large machinery.
- Urban Farming projects – check out GrowUp, GrowBristol and Growing Underground. They’re all challenging the preconception that food can’t be grown in the hustle bustle of a city!
- Zelp – a “smart” mask that reduces methane emissions produced from cattle by 85%. Not exactly a solution to our meat and dairy crisis, but still – could these nose rings become a thing?
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – think about where your food is sourced from, and what you’re eating. Try to reduce food waste, buy local, buy organic, grow your own and adopt a more plant-based diet. All these changes will help our food supply to be more sustainable and ensure there is an ample supply of food for everyone.