Ancient plant could help to grow Food In Space.

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A team of Australian scientists from Queensland University have discovered a gene in an ancient plant that could open the door for space-based food production, especially during deeper human missions, including to Mars.

The scientists have made the discovery while tracing the history of the ancient Australian native tobacco plant Nicotiana benthamiana, known as Pitjuri.

Using a molecular clock and fossil records, the team found that this particular plant has survived in its current form in the wild for around 750,000 years. It did this by focusing on being able to germinate and grow quickly, rapidly flower, and set seed after even a small amount of rainfall.

While the plant has lost its 'immune system' in the process, it has instead focused on producing large seeds and on getting these seeds back into the soil in time for the next rain.The plant has worked out how to fight drought, its number one predator, in order to survive through generations.

Professor Peter Waterhouse, a plant geneticist at Queensland University said, "This plant is the 'laboratory rat' of the molecular plant world," he said, adding "we think of it as a magical plant with amazing properties."

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1 comment:

  1. So growing vegetables while living in mars, has a bit more science fact than fiction.



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