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    Scientists Sow Ancient Seeds to Survive Global Warming


    by NTDTelevision

    Scientists in Mexico have discovered that ancient maize and wheat varieties can resist the drought and heat of today's weather conditions. The researchers are crossing the plants with other strains to grow different types of maize and wheat, more resistant to climate change for future generations.

    A seed bank which could hold the key to saving some crops from global warming.

    Scientists in Mexico have found that ancient wheat and corn varieties have particular drought-and heat-resistant traits.

    So, researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in El Batan are developing new strains which they can cross with plants grown from the ancient seeds.

    They hope these plants can fight off the ill effects of rising temperatures, says scientist Matthew Reynolds.

    Mexico is considered to be a birthplace for corn, which is a staple for Mexicans.

    And the new plants are inheriting traits from the old seeds such as longer roots that suck up water and a capacity to store more nutrients in their stalks.

    The center's research director, Marianne Bänzinger says science has to anticipate the inevitable temperature increases.

    [Marianne Bänzinger, Research Director]:
    "Climate change is really happening and we need to be concerned, we need to be concerned that we cannot change agriculture overnight. So we need to look ahead what is happening in 10, 15, 20 years when our children had grown up and we need to start to invest now in those solutions to make sure that we have them with farmers when they are needed."

    Seed breeders say they are the first line of defense in protecting farmers from climate change, widely expected to heat the planet between 1 and 3 degrees over the next 50 years.

    And using the innate information found in ancient seeds is one way of ensuring future food supplies.