The fastest growing plant in the world will help create super-yielding crops

Unlike wildlife, human civilization does not have millions of years to evolve naturally and adapt to a changing climate. Therefore, it is not only shameful for us to take ready-made genetic sets, but it is vitally necessary for us to do so. It is curious that one of the most promising donors of the genetic code for the future of agriculture is the common marsh duckweed, or wolfia.

Wolfia is widespread, it grows in almost all freshwater bodies of the world and is food for many living things. A single specimen of a plant has the size of a pinhead, it has no roots, no leaves, no flowers. Wolffia reproduces by similarity of budding and doubles (!) Its mass in a day. It was this super-fast growth in an ordinary pond that piqued the interest of scientists.

The secret was revealed by researchers from Salk University in California. They began to grow duckweed under conditions of artificial change of daylight hours, varying its duration. Most plants are critically dependent on the conditions of photosynthesis and change their growth rates depending on the light. But wolfia turned out to be indifferent to light, she practically has no genes to react to it, and therefore there is no restriction on growth in dark conditions.

The absence of roots for fixing in the ground, thorns for protection, fragrant flowers to attract pollinating insects and other plant attributes was also genetically programmed. Scientists have come to the conclusion that the duckweed in the course of evolution got rid of all the "superfluous", lost many genes, retaining only the ability to incredibly fast weight gain and reproduction. That is, simply borrowing genes from her to create high-yielding crops will not work, but the very solution to the secret of this plant will render a considerable service to world science.