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Crop Biotech Update

Indonesian Scientists Identify Novel Gene To Develop Aluminum-Tolerant Rice

March 10, 2021

A team of scientists in Indonesia was able to identify and isolate a novel gene from a local rice variety that can be the key to developing an aluminum (Al)-tolerant rice variety suitable for acidic soil.

The scientists chose the Indonesian rice cv. Hawara Bunar while investigating which genes can be used to develop aluminum-tolerant rice. They found that the OsGERLP gene that is highly expressed in the rice's root tips is a good Al-tolerant candidate gene. They cloned it using the rye/rice microsynteny relationship and characterized it further. Then they analyzed the root growth and gene expression to verify the role of the gene on the Al tolerance in gene-silenced rice and in over-expressed transgenic tobacco. Results showed that silencing the OsGERLP in rice decreases the expression of Al tolerance-related genes and impairs root growth under Al stress, while its overexpression in transgenic tobacco elevates tolerance against Al stress. The scientists concluded that the OsGERLP gene could act as a regulator for other Al tolerance genes. This information can lead to the development aluminum-tolerant rice varieties in the future.

The paper was published by Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.

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