New Flood-Tolerant Rice Could Relief for WORLD's Poorest Farmers

New Flood-Tolerant rice Could Relief for WORLD's Poorest Farmers

A press release issued by EurekAlert says that a gene that enables rice to survive complete submergence has been identified by a team of researchers at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and at the University of California's Davis and Riverside campuses. The discovery allows for development of new rice varieties that can withstand flooding, thus overcoming one of agriculture's oldest challenges and offering relief to millions of poor rice farmers around the world.


UCR's Julia Bailey-Serres, a professor of genetics, and Takeshi Fukao, a postdoctoral researcher, are members of the research team.

Rice is the primary food for more than 3 billion people around the world. Approximately one-fourth of the global rice crop is grown in rain-fed, lowland plots that are prone to seasonal flooding. These seasonal flash floods are extremely unpredictable and may occur at any growth stage of the rice crop.
During any given year, yield losses resulting from flooding in these lowland areas may range from 10 percent to total destruction, depending on the water depth, age of the plant, how long the plants are submerged, water temperature, rate of nitrogen fertilizer use and other environmental factors. Annual crop loss has been estimated at more than $1 billion.

While rice is the only cereal crop that can withstand submergence at all, most rice varieties will die if fully submerged for too long. When the plant is covered with water, its oxygen and carbon dioxide supplies are reduced, which interferes with photosynthesis and respiration. Because the submerged plants lack the air and sunlight they need to function, growth is inhibited, and the plants will die if they remain under water for more than four days.

While rice thrives in standing water, like all crops it will die if completely submerged for more than a few days. The development and cultivation of the new varieties is expected to increase food security for 70 million of the world's poorest people, and may reduce yield losses from weeds in areas like the United States where rice is seeded in flooded fields. Results of this study appear in the Aug. 10 issue of the journal Nature.

"Globally, rice is the most important food for humans, and each year millions of small farmers in the poorest areas of the world lose their entire crops to flooding," said Pamela Ronald, a rice geneticist and chair of UC Davis' Plant Genomics Program. "Our research team anticipates that these newly developed rice varieties will help ensure a more dependable food supply for poor farmers and their families. And, in the long run, our findings may allow rice producers in the United States to reduce the amount of herbicides used to fight weeds."

"For half a century, researchers have been trying to introduce submergence tolerance into the commonly grown rice varieties through conventional breeding," said rice geneticist and study co-author David Mackill, who heads the Division of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology at the International Rice Research Institute. "Several traditional rice varieties have exhibited a greater tolerance to submergence, but attempts to breed that tolerance into commercially viable rice failed to generate successful varieties.

Using genetic mapping techniques, the research team identified a cluster of three genes that appeared closely linked to the biological processes that either make rice plants vulnerable to flooding or enable them to withstand the total submergence that occurs during flooding.

The researchers then focused their attention on one of those three genes, known as the Sub1A gene. They found that when this gene is overexpressed, or hyperactivated, a rice variety that is normally intolerant of submergence becomes tolerant.

Further studies indicated that the Sub1A gene is probably successful in conferring submergence tolerance to rice because it affects the way the plants respond to hormones, such as ethylene and gibberellic acid, that are key to the plant's ability to survive even when inundated with water.
Going one step further, the researchers introduced the Sub1A gene into a rice variety that is especially suited for growing conditions in India. The resulting rice plants were not only tolerant of being submerged in water but also produced high yields and retained other beneficial crop qualities. Development of submergence-tolerant varieties for commercial production in Laos, Bangladesh, and India is now well under way.

In addition to providing a more stable

"We're especially pleased that we have been able to use the latest advances in molecular biology to help improve the lives of the world's poor," Mackill added. "We're confident that even more important discoveries like this are in the pipeline."

You may also be interested in . . .

Comments

Post new comment

Similar

Gamma Radiation Rather Than Heat or Chemical Inactivation of Bacteria for Vaccine Showing Better Immune Response and Convenient

Gamma Radiation Rather Than Heat or Chemical Inactivation of Bacteria for Vaccin Gamma rays form the highest-energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum.Gamma ray is a term for high-energy electromagnetic radiation produced by nuclear transitions, while X-ray is a term for high-

Awareness For Blood Glucose Test Strips

Awareness For Blood Glucose Test Strips Home care is generally directed toward preventing diabetic elevated high blood sugar.If you have type 1 diabetes, you should monitor your blood sugars at least 3-4 times a day.Concentrations of whole

New Blood Anticoagulant /Antiplatelet / Anticlotting / Thinner : Bivalirudin (Angiomax) Shown More Effective and Safer than Heparin

New Blood Anticoagulant /Antiplatelet / Anticlotting / Thinner : Bivalirudin Antioxidants such as vitamin E act to protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of the body's metabolism. Free radicals can cause cell damage that

Due to Pontential Risk of Lead Pollution EPA Urged to Remove Lead from The Criteria Pollutants.

Due to Pontential Risk of Lead Pollution Epa Urged to Remove Lead from The Crite Lead is a heavy metal that is found naturally in the Earth's crust. It has historically been used in a number of household products. More than 4% of children in the United States have lead poisoning

Health Risks of Pet Owners and Some Awareness

Health Risks of Pet Owners and Some Awareness Pets generally seem to provide their owners with non-trivial health benefits; keeping pets has been shown to help remove stress.Walking a dog can also provide the animal and its owner with exercise,

Inflammatory Response Mediated Genetic Variation is Also Important to Detect Atherosclerosis, Heart Disease and Stroke

Inflammatory Response Mediated Genetic Variation is Also Important to Detect Ath Heart disease and strokes are common cardiovascular diseases. They are the third and first top cause of death for both genders Cancer is in-between the two. Forty percent of all deaths, in America,

Simple Technique to Purify Water, Contaminated By Disaster Like Hurricane Katrina, Flood...

Simple Technique to Purify Water, Contaminated By Disaster Like Hurricane Katrin Water supplies are compromised when infrastructures break down due to hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, power blackouts, or terrorist attacks, all prevalent events around the world in the