BASF and Monsanto scientists have discovered a new, naturally occurring gene that could help the U.S. grow drought-tolerant genetically modified maize by 2012.

The gene has reportedly been identified in bacteria subjected to cold stress and has been shown to help plants withstand drought better.

Trials conducted in 2008 have shown that this variety of maize could increase harvest by 6-10% in the drought-prone Great Western Plains.