Plants have a built-in “coping mechanism” — one that helps them better endure cold temperatures, Axios‘ Ayurella Horn-Muller reports.

Why it matters: Crops deploy many mechanisms to adapt to low and freezing temperatures.

The latest: Photosynthesizing plants have evolved their “own way of making cold mornings tolerable” through an evolutionary cold “coping mechanism,” according to a new study in the journal Nature Plants.

  • By analyzing how colder temperatures are communicated to chloroplasts — the site of photosynthesis inside a plant cell — authors identified what they call a “signaling pathway” that shares information through a plant, helping to fortify it against damaging environmental impacts.

What’s next: Researchers are investigating whether this can be applied to further expand cold tolerance in crops such as maize, which is known to be highly sensitive to cold stress.

State of play: The study follows last month’s landmark British ruling that facilitates the expansion of precision breeding tech.

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