New rice fights off drought

New rice fights off drought.
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.
RIKEN scientists and their collaborators tackled this issue by developing transgenic strains of rice that are more resistant to drought.
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.
For this study, they created several lines of transgenic Brazilian and African rice that overexpress this gene, and with their CIAT and JIRCAS collaborators, tested how well the rice grew in different conditions in different years.
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.
Again, several of the transgenic strains showed higher grain yield under mild and severe natural drought.

Learn More