Gene for Enhancing Drought Resistance in Plants

Levine Alex, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences

Improves survival of seedlings and plants in drought and high salinity


Agriculture, Field Crops / Plant Genetics, Stress Tolerance

Development Stage

Proof of concept in model plants

Patent Status

Patent application filed in the United States


  • Increasing use of recycled water and changes in climate are driving the need to find plants that will grow in tough conditions of drought and salinity.
  • The gene operates on the general trafficking pathways, including development of oxidative stress and calcium fluxes, resulting in coordination of stomatal opening and the expression of stress tolerance genes in plants. It is therefore transferable to a wide range of plants.

Our Innovation

Overexpression of gene At2g01900 improves the survival of seedlings and adult plants in severe drought conditions and improves tolerance to high salinity of young seedlings.

Figure: Drought tolerance in transgenic plants overexpressing the At2g01900 gene two weeks after the cessation of watering. Plants were watered twice a day for six weeks, after which watering was stopped.

Figure:Resistance to salinity: Top: Wild-type and At5ptase9 mutants were germinated on 1/2 MS. After seven days they were transferred to 1/2 MS supplemented with 150 mM NaCl or to 1/2 MS (control, side pictures). Bottom: The transgenic plants (OE) were germinated and grown on 150mM NaCl.
Pictures were taken after 10 days.

Key Features

  • Can be used in transgenic crops (e.g. cotton) or in ornamental plants (e.g. grass) or for natural breeding programs in crops as selection marker gene.

Development Milestones

  • Seeking funding to develop the gene in crop plants such as tomatoes, cotton, rice or other desired plant.

The Opportunity

  • US farmers lose on average 10–15% of their annual yield because of drought and water stress.
  • In 2008, seed giant Monsanto announced a $1.5 billion deal with chemical concern BASF to develop high-yielding crops that are more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions such as drought.


Contact for more information:

Amichai Baron
VP, Head of Business Development, Agritech & Envir
Contact ME: