Seeds in Space

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    • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had sent two varieties of seeds, arabidopsis and sorghum to space. 

    About

    • This is the first feasibility study by these organisations to determine the effect of cosmic radiation, microgravity and extreme temperatures on plant genomes and biology.

    Impacts 

    • Increased radiation creates genetic changes in plant seeds that would make them adaptable to harsh environmental conditions like greater temperatures, arid soils, diseases and rising sea levels. This adaptation process is known as space mutagenesis.

    Significance of the Cosmic Experiment

    • The experiment aims to develop new crops that can adapt to climate change and help boost global food security. 
    • With the population reaching almost 10 billion by 2050, there’s a clear need for innovative solutions aimed at producing more food, as well as crops that are more resilient and farming methods that are more sustainable.
    • Global warming is making it difficult for farmers to sustain yields. The rising costs for essential grains and political instability have been aggravating it.

    About Sorghum & Arabidopsis

    • Sorghum: Sorghum belongs to the family of millets and is a drought- and heat-tolerant grain grown in many developing countries for food.
    • Arabidopsis: It is a small flowering plant that belongs to the mustard family (Brassicaceae).
      • It is widely used as a model organism in plant biology research due to its small size, rapid life cycle, and easily manipulable genetics.

    International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (HO: Vienna, Austria)

    • Established on 29th July 1957, independent of the UN but the agency reports to the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.
    • It is entrusted with the task of upholding the principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, 1970. India is not a signatory to the treaty.

    Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

    • Established by the United Nations in 1945; dealing with international efforts to defeat hunger.
    • HO: Rome, Italy

    Source: DTE