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Crop Biotech Update

IRRI Scientists Hunt for Flood and Salt Resistance in Rice

April 20, 2012

Scientists at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) continues to explore on rice genes that enable the crop to thrive in extreme conditions. Rice has its relative called "wild rice" that has genes for pest and disease resistance, tolerance to environmental stresses, and genes that can help improve today's rice yield. Few of the rice species that have been used to create new rice varieties are O. minuta that contributed genes resistant to bacterial blight, brown planthopper, and sheath blight. Another is O. rifipogon which has tungro virus-resistance genes and yield-enhancing genes. But their latest contribution to the farming community is the Anmi rice which has brown planthopper-resistance genes from O. australiensis and is being used in South Korea.

One of IRRI's next steps is to combine blast-resistance gene from O. australiensis and yield-enhancing gene from O. rufipogon with varieties that are already being cultivated by farmers worldwide. Through this research, IRRI would provide farmers with rice varieties resistant to pests, viruses, diseases, and other kinds of stress and at the same time are able to produce high yield.

Read more at http://irri.org/knowledge/publications/rice-today/special-reports/science-shorts/a-chance-in-the-wild .