Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have developed strains of rice that are resistant to drought in real-world situations. Published in Plant Biotechnology Journal, the study reports that transgenic rice modified with a gene from the Arabidopsis plant yield more rice than unmodified rice when subjected to stress brought by natural drought.
The study was carried out in collaboration with researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia and the Japanese International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) in Japan.
As the amount of rice needed to help feed the global population increases, the consequences of drought-related crop reduction are becoming more severe. RIKEN scientists and their collaborators tackled this issue by developing transgenic strains of rice that are more resistant to drought.
Normally, plants adapt to drought-related stress by producing osmoprotectants—molecules like soluble sugars that help prevent water from leaving cells. Galactinol synthase (GolS) is an enzyme needed to produce one these important sugars called galactinol. In previous work, RIKEN scientists showed that Arabidopsis plants express the AtGolS2 gene in response to drought and salinity stress.
“The Arabidopsis GolS2 gene was first identified with basic research at RIKEN,” explains RIKEN scientist Fuminori Takahashi. “Using it, we were able to improve resistance to drought-related stress, and increased the grain yield of rice in dry field conditions. This is one of the best model cases in which basic research knowledge has been successfully applied toward researching a resolution to a food-related problem.”
For this study, they created several lines of transgenic Brazilian and African rice that over-express this gene, and with their CIAT and JIRCAS collaborators, tested how well the rice grew in different conditions in different years.
The results were very promising. First, they grew the different rice lines in greenhouse conditions and showed that the modified Brazilian and African rice did indeed show higher levels of galactinol than the unmodified control rice. Next, they tested tolerance to drought during the seedling growth period because this period often overlaps with seasonal drought. In order to precisely control this part of the experiment, it was conducted in a rainout shelter that allowed them to artificially create drought-like conditions. After three weeks, the modified strains had grown taller and showed less leaf-rolling, a common response to drought stress.
Drought tolerance was next confirmed at the reproductive stage in three rainout field trials in Colombia. These trials were during different seasons and different locations. Nevertheless, transgenic lines in both species of rice showed higher yield, greater biomass, lower leaf-rolling, and greater fertility than the unmodified rice. Closer examination showed that five of the most promising strains had greater relative water content during drought conditions, and also used more light for photosynthesis, and contained more chlorophyll.
Finally, they tested the transgenic rice over a three-year period in different natural environments. Again, several of the transgenic strains showed higher grain yield under mild and severe natural drought.
When might we see this useful rice on the market? According to Takahashi, the greatest barrier to commercial availability is that they used genetically modified (GM) technology to generate the GolS2 transgenic rice. “Now, we have begun our next collaborative project, in which we will generate useful rice without GM technology. It might take 5-10 years to reach our goal, but we must keep pressing forward because droughts and climate change might get worse in the future.”
Learn more: New rice fights off drought
The Latest on: Rice
via Google News
The Latest on: Rice
- Amid impeachment probe, Pompeo jokes in Houston about ‘quid pro quo’ at Rice Universityon November 15, 2019 at 11:43 am
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joked Friday that his appearance at Rice University’s Baker Institute was the fulfillment of a “quid pro quo” with James Baker III, alluding to the language central to ...
- Rice at Its Fineston November 15, 2019 at 9:02 am
A recent trip to Indonesia, where I was surrounded by rice paddies and had rice for every single meal, has made me think about rice. This isn’t as obvious as it may sound. When you visit a culture in ...
- What is Minnesota food? New TPT series serves up steamed buns, sticky rice and masalaon November 15, 2019 at 7:51 am
José Alarcon makes tortillas from the heirloom maize he uses at his Minneapolis restaurants Popol Vuh and Centro. Ann Ahmed, chef and owner of Lat14 and Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine, tosses sticky rice in ...
- College football preview: Rice at Middle Tennesseeon November 15, 2019 at 7:21 am
When/where: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. TV/radio: ESPN+. Records: Rice 0-9, 0-5; Middle Tennessee 3-6, 2-3. Rice update: Linebacker Blaze Alldredge has 16.0 tackles for ...
- See birds going wild in the air but calm on the ground around Yuba County rice fieldon November 14, 2019 at 3:41 pm
In a video shot November 2019, after a dry season so far, massive amounts of birds in wet rice fields around Yuba County are busy in the sky but calm on the ground.
- What we owe to Tamir Rice and his mom, science-defying lawmakers and the Rock Hall’s Play It Loud exhibit: This Week in the CLEon November 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm
Cohost Laura Johnston and I also chat with pop culture Troy Smith about the huge Play It Loud exhibit coming to the Rock Hall. Troy saw the exhibit when it was in New York and tells us about some of ...
- 49ers’ Deebo Samuel joins Jerry Rice in select groupon November 14, 2019 at 10:53 am
However, all the negative wide receiver news from the 49ers’ 27-24 overtime loss to the Seahawks on Monday obscured this: Deebo Samuel did something not accomplished since Jerry Rice did it 34 years ...
- MTSU football vs. Rice: 5 things to watchon November 14, 2019 at 9:14 am
Injuries have resulted in inexperienced players having to step up and play crucial minutes. With back-to-back games against winless Rice team and one-win Old Dominion, these next two weeks give those ...
- Our racism killed Tamir Rice. Now it’s time to do right by his legacyon November 14, 2019 at 7:03 am
CLEVELAND, Ohio – The gazebo, under which 12-year-old Tamir Rice was gunned down by a Cleveland police officer five years ago, now commemorates that tragedy from its temporary home on the grounds of ...
via Bing News