Seeking hardier breeds for drought, climate change

By: By DAVID PITT (Associated Press)
By: By DAVID PITT (Associated Press)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Confronted with the hottest, driest summer in decades, the nation's farmers and crop scientists are looking ahead to the future heat waves and water shortages that are expected to result from climate change.

They've concluded that it's too late to fight the shifting weather patterns. Instead, they are aiming to adapt with a new generation of hardier animals and plants specially engineered to survive in intense heat with little rain.

In Texas, a rancher is breeding cattle with genes that trace to animals from Africa and India, where their ancestors developed tolerance to heat and drought.

In seed laboratories, researchers are developing corn with larger roots to gather more water. Someday, the plants may even be able to "resurrect" themselves after a long dry spell, recovering quickly when rain returns.


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