Beans are delicious, so delicious that earlier this year the UN declared 2016 to be year of the pulse. Around the world beans are cultivated for their protein and their ability to grow in many places. Some beans are better at growing in wet areas while others in drought conditions. This has led botanists to look into why some beans are better than others in terms of the drought resistance. They figured it out thanks to crossbreeding the beans!
What the researchers have now found is that the plants have developed two distinct strategies, depending on the soil in which they were planted and the length of the dry periods they had to endure.
One group has developed deeper roots so they can reach the available moisture in soil that retained water even when there was no rain.
The second group has smaller leaves and closes down their operations to wait for better times. Some varieties use what little resources they have left to grow as many beans as possible, to ensure the survival of the next generation.
Thanks to Delaney!