By manipulating the CHLORAD pathway, scientists can modify how plants respond to their environment. For example, the plant's ability to tolerate stresses such as high salinity can be improved.
The CHLORAD pathway helps to regulate structures inside plant cells called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are the organelles that define plants. Along with many other metabolic, developmental and signalling functions, chloroplasts are responsible for photosynthesis, the process whereby sunlight energy is harnessed to power the cellular activities of life.
By the year 2050, the current level of food production must increase by at least 70% to meet the demands of a growing world population and shifting dietary preferences towards more animal products, while 38% of the world's land and 70% of fresh water are already used for agriculture.
Abiotic stresses, including drought, high and low temperatures, soil salinity, nutrient deficiencies, and toxic metals, are the leading cause of yield loss, decreasing crop productivity by 50-80% depending on the crop and geographical location.
Thus, developing stress-resistant crops that can have stable yields under stress conditions is an important strategy to ensure future food security.