Crop Biotech Update

Gene from Arabidopsis Improves Drought Tolerance of Indica Rice

January 15, 2014

Transcription factor DREB1A from Arabidopsis thaliana has been found to improve drought tolerance. Thus, a research team led by G. Ravikumar of the Directorate of Rice Research in Hyderabad, India, developed transgenic rice plants with AtDREB1A in the background of indica rice cultivar Samba Mahsuri through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Analyses showed that the AtDREB1A gene was stably expressed and passed onto the initial offspring as well as in following generations. The expression of AtDREB1A was induced by drought stress in transgenic rice lines, which were highly tolerant to severe water deficit stress in both the vegetative and reproductive stages without affecting their morphological or agronomic traits.

The physiological studies showed that the expression of AtDREB1A was linked with the building up of amino acid proline, maintenance of chlorophyll, increased relative water content, and decreased ion leakage under drought condition. Furthermore, the homozygous lines had higher grain yield and spikelet fertility compared with the non-biotech counterparts under both stressed and unstressed conditions.

Read the abstract at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11248-013-9776-6.