Jill Farrant: Resurrecting plants

Full Frame

Jill Farrant Scientist Jill Farrant is leading research on drought-resistant plants.

Scientist Jill Farrant is a professor and research chair in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

She is currently leading the development of drought-tolerant crops. They’re called “resurrection plants” because they can survive droughts and are capable of resurrecting once supplied with water.

“We store our germ plasm as seeds,” explained Farrant. “The phenomenon is not often seen in most plants, in vegetative tissues, but it is in seeds.”

Jill Farrant: Resurrecting plants

Jill Farrant: Resurrecting plants

Scientist Jill Farrant talks about her research on drought-resistant plants.

Further development of these plants can help provide solutions for feeding populations in dry and arid climates around the world.

“What we’re trying to do, in the long term, is getting a very resilient crop,” Farrant said. “A crop that will do well under hydrated conditions but actually won’t die under the more extreme conditions.”

Farrant’s research has received international praise and in 2012, she was a recipient of the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science.

From Cape Town, Jill Farrant joined May Lee in our Los Angeles studio to tell us more about the potential impact of her research.