Novel Small Molecules to Prevent Drought-Induced Plant Damage

Categories: “Plant Diseases

Reference #: 2012-025

OTC Contact: Ruchika Nijhara, Ph.D., MBA, CLP (Directory Information | Send a Message)


Global climate changes and an increased shortage of water worldwide have made drought a serious concern for agricultural interests. Current approaches of preventing drought-induced plant deterioration include genetically modified crops (GMC) and chemical protection. Both options are either costly, highly sensitive, or lack the complete protection needed. The scientist at Georgetown University in collaboration with the scientist at Howard University identified series of novel compounds that inhibit the function of the gene involved in the drought resistance to ultimately prevent drought-induced plant deterioration.


  • Preventing drought-induced plant deterioration, therefore eliminating the need for the development of GMCs.
  • Potential applicability for crops used in biofuel and food production.


  • The target gene is highly conserved across plant species and therefore these compounds should have widespread applicability, including food and biofuel production
  • Inhibition of the target gene and its protein function may provide protection against other environmental stressors
  • Inhibition of the target gene has been proven to provide chemical protection
  • Efficacy has been proved using different crops.

Stage of Development

Efficacy of these compounds in preventing drought-induced plant deterioration has been demonstrated using Arabidopsis. Proof-of-concept in other important agricultural species has been also demonstrated.


Sivanesan Dakshanamurthy and Hemayet Ullah

Relevant Publications

miR393s regulate salt stress response pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana through scaffold protein RACK1A mediated ABA signaling pathways. Publication.

Patent Status

Patent Application Pending