Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Rice Variety is Flood Resistant

Scientists develop high-yield deep water rice
By ERIC TALMADGE (AP) – 12 hours ago

TOKYO — A team of Japanese scientists has discovered genes that enable rice to survive high water, providing hope for better rice production in lowland areas that are affected by flooding.
The team, primarily from the University of Nagoya, reported their findings in Thursday's issue of Nature, the science magazine.

The genes, called SNORKEL genes, help rice grow longer stems to deal with higher water levels. Deep-water rice generally produces lower-yield rice plants. But the researchers report they have succeeded in introducing the genes to rice varieties that are higher-yield.

According to the report, as water levels rise, accumulation of the plant hormone ethylene activates the SNORKEL genes, making stem growth more rapid. When the researchers introduced the genes into rice that does not normally survive in deep water, they were able to rescue the plants from drowning.

Motoyuki Ashikari, who headed the project, said his team is hoping to use the gene on long grain rice widely used in Southeast Asia to help stabilize production in flood-prone areas where rice with the flood-resistant gene is low in production — about one-third to one-quarter that of regular rice. Read More

There are some people in our society that are trying to make an issue of genetically modifying plants. It’s something that humans have been doing for thousands of years. Recently, technology has allowed us to do it faster and better than ever before. This has resulted in incredible advancements in crop farming. Rice is a staple crop on much of this planet. Unfortunately, crop failure due to flooding has been an issue but that is hopefully about to change. Scientists have identified a gene that allows the plant to survive flood conditions and still produce a high yielding crop. Thanks to modern food production techniques, more people will have more rice available to them.

No comments: