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Mar 4, 2011

Flood-Tolerant GM Rice Plants Can Also Survive Drought

On 4 March 2011, ScienceDaily reported that plant scientists at the University of California, Riverside had discovered that flood-tolerant rice also has increased tolerance to drought. 

Flood-tolerant rice (also known as submergent rice or "scuba" rice) was developed through genetic modification of the Sub1A gene.  This gene was originally found only in low-yielding rice varieties in India and Sri Lanka.  It has been genetically added to the new scuba rice varieties.  Sub1A allows the rice plant to become dormant during up to two weeks of flooding.  During submergence Sub1A gives the plant the ability to conserve energy until the water recedes.  This same process helps it to counter drought.

Project leader, Julia Bailey-Serres, professor of genetics in U.C. Riverside's Department of Botany and Plant Sciences has concluded that, "flood tolerance does not reduce drought tolerance in these rice plants, and appears to even benefit them when they encounter drought."

Research results will be published in January 2011 issue of The Plant Cell.  Support for the project was provided by the USDA.

In the near future, I.R.R.I. will field test scuba rice for drought tolerance in the Philippines. 

For more see: "Flood-Tolerant Rice Plants Can Also Survive Drought," ScienceDaily, 4 March 2011.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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