An Australian Plant Could Help Scientists Learn to Grow Food on Mars

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Veggie burgers are next.
Veggie burgers are next. Photo: Acme

If a tobacco plant can survive the conditions in Australia’s outback, the thinking goes that it could also thrive in space. Scientists have discovered and isolated the DNA sequence in Nicotiana benthamiana that shuts down the plant’s immune system, allowing the plant to focus its energy on self-seeding and growing quickly. This would come in handy in space, where, like the outback, there aren’t any known pathogens. As The Wall Street Journal explains, “Once they’re no longer trying to fight disease, they’re able to grow big faster, helping them survive harsh environments.” With the newfound ability to disable this disease-fighting gene, it won’t be long until the plant-based-veggie-burger trend takes off far, far away.

[WSJ]

Plants Helps Scientists Grow Food on Space