In Southern Africa, more than 21 million people need emergency assistance due to a food crisis after the region’s worst drought in 35 years.
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Could harnessing the power of "resurrection plants" – with the ability to survive severe water shortages for years – hold the secret to feeding a hungry planet? Jill Farrant, a biology professor at Cape Town University, hopes that by putting resurrection plants' survival skills into crops, making them drought-tolerant, the world's population could be better fed.Nearly 800 million people go to bed hungry each night, according to the United Nations, with drought one of the greatest threats to food production. In Southern Africa, more than 21 million people need emergency assistance due to a food crisis after the region's worst drought in 35 years and an infestation of the crop-damaging fall armyworm.Farrant's research has shown that survival mechanisms found in the 135 varieties of resurrection plants, such as the "Rose of Jericho" and "Siempre Viva" desert plants, are similar to the desiccation processes found in crop seeds.Farrant is confident that in time, she can deliver plants that are resistant to drought.
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