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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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Resurrection plants

3 minutes

Will life-forms that can go a century without water save crops from droughts?

Scientists are becoming increasingly determined to find viable, sustainable ways to locate, save and recycle water. One search has led scientists to Tortula ruralis, a moss group capable of surviving as long as 100 years without water. During dry periods, these mosses stop photosynthesising and write a set of genetic instructions so they can spring back to life as soon as a water source returns. Similarly resilient are the microscopic creatures known as rotifers that live inside the moss. Scientists hope they might be able to borrow from the rotifers’ genetic code to engineer crops that could repair themselves after a dry spell.

Producer: Gabriela Quirós

Website: Deep Look

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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