Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Resurrecting hope: drought tolerant crops


Drought is one of the major hurdles facing agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Coupled with poor farming practices, political instability, population growth and lack of funding for agriculture, regular periods of drought have seen episodes where severe famine has nearly crippled entire nations.

In this article, Shaun Peters of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, describes how he and his colleagues are researching ways of genetically improving the ability of plants to cope with drought. They believe the answer lies in a unique type of resurrection plant, Xerophyta viscosa.

This plant can survive long periods without water, and then, when the rains come, it 'resurrects itself'. The scientists are now looking at a suite of genes that code for proteins responsible for this phenomenon. Their ambition is to clone these genes into agronomically important crops such as wheat and maize.

Link to full Science in Africa article

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.