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Abstract, PSU Ag Science Magazine, 2019

Scientists are trying to unlock the secrets of stress response. If they succeed, crops may be designed to deal with a warming planet.

Understanding how plants react to environmental stress and how we humans can enhance or direct their responses is a key focus of researchers in the college.

"With regions of the world still food insecure, global population projected to jump from the current 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050, and climate change expected to make key agricultural areas hotter and dryer, feeding all of humanity will be increasingly challenging," says Gary Thompson, associate dean for research and graduate education.

He notes that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that the global food supply will need to increase by 70 percent to meet rapidly rising demand. "This large expansion in agricultural output will require both improvements in crop yield and the cultivation of additional farmland," he says. "Much of the new agricultural acreage, especially in the developing world, will be arid and semi-arid--marginal for growing crops."