The Blue Revolution, Drop by Drop, Gene by Gene

During the green revolution, researchers and breeders focused on improving productivity by providing optimal environments – fertilizing poor soils, irrigating dry lands, destroying weeds and pest insects – and developing high-yielding crops that thrive under those conditions. But looming water shortages are changing the equation. Agriculture consumes 70% of the water people use, and its needs will increase 17% by 2025, according to the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), based in Sri Lanka. But competition from urbanization and development means that “less water is becoming available for agriculture,” says Henry Nguyen, a plant geneticist at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

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