Rosetta Green announced this week that it has successfully altered tobacco plants, which serve as models for corn and soybean plants, to use seawater irrigation.
Specifically, the company introduced an undisclosed microRNA into the plants, which were intermittently irrigated with salt water with three times the salinity of seawater. Unaltered control plants were also tested.
Once both groups of plants were put back on a normal irrigation schedule, only the altered plants were able to recover and continue to grow, Rosetta Green said.
“The frequent droughts afflicting the world in recent years and the motivation to expand to arid lands containing brackish water require the development of plant varieties resistant to drought and irrigation with salt water,” Rosetta Green CEO Amir Avniel said in a statement.