Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flood-tolerant rice plants can also survive drought, say UC Riverside scientists

03.03.2011
Research could greatly benefit rice farmers and consumers worldwide

Rice, which is sensitive to drought due to its high water requirement, is particularly vulnerable to how global climate change is altering the frequency and magnitude of floods and droughts. If rice plants' combined tolerance to flooding and drought could be improved, however, rice productivity could be protected and even substantially increased.

Now plant scientists at the University of California, Riverside have made a discovery that can greatly benefit rice growers and consumers everywhere. The researchers have demonstrated in the lab and greenhouse that rice that is flood tolerant is also better able to recover from a drought.

"Flood tolerance does not reduce drought tolerance in these rice plants, and appears to even benefit them when they encounter drought," said Julia Bailey-Serres, a professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, who led the research project.

Bailey-Serres and her team – Takeshi Fukao, a senior researcher, and Elaine Yeung, an undergraduate student – focused on Sub1A, a gene responsible for flood or "submergence" tolerance in rice and found only in some low-yielding rice varieties in India and Sri Lanka. Sub1A works by making the plant dormant during submergence, allowing it to conserve energy until the floodwaters recede. Rice with the Sub1A gene can survive more than two weeks of complete submergence.

Plant breeders have already benefited farmers worldwide – especially in South Asia – by having transferred Sub1A into high-yielding rice varieties without compromising these varieties' desirable traits—such as high yield, good grain quality, and pest and disease resistance.

Bailey-Serres's lab found that in addition to providing robust submergence tolerance, Sub1A aids survival of drought. The researchers report that at the molecular level Sub1A serves as a convergence point between submergence and drought response pathways, allowing rice plants to survive and re-grow after both extremes of precipitation.

Study results appear in the January issue of The Plant Cell. The journal has the highest impact factor of primary research journals in plant biology. The research paper also has been selected as a recommended read in the Faculty of 1000.

Bailey-Serres's lab investigated the drought tolerance of flood-tolerant rice plants because her research team wanted to be sure that the flood tolerance trait, which the lab has studied for many years, did not reduce the ability of the plant to endure some of the other common stresses – such as drought.

"We found that Sub1A properly coordinates physiological and molecular responses to cellular water deficit when this deficit occurs independently, as in a time of drought, or following 'desubmergence,' which takes place when flood waters recede," Bailey-Serres said.

She explained that after a flood, a period follows when the leaves that have been submerged lose water and become dehydrated. Moreover, because a period of dehydration is part of the natural progression of a flood, Sub1A also happens to have benefits after desubmergence and is therefore important for drought tolerance as well.

"Our finding suggests that the plant recovers well from drought by growing new shoots," Bailey-Serres said. "This is something that is also seen with flooding."

Next, colleagues of Bailey-Serres at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines will test the Sub1A rice for drought tolerance in the field.

The research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service to Bailey-Serres, who is the lead recipient of the 2008 USDA National Research Initiative Discovery Award. Fukao is the first author of the research paper.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 20,500 students. The campus will open a medical school in 2012 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Iqbal Pittalwala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>