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Study Opens Door to Flood Resistant Crops
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: October 02, 2019 05:50AM

Of all the major food crops, rice is the only crop that can survive
flooding. A new research conducted by scientists at the University of
California Riverside (UC Riverside) could soon change this as some of the
genes involved in adaptation in rice also exist in other plants. The
scientists found that a wild-growing tomato, a tomato for farming, and a
plant similar to alfalfa share at least 68 gene families that are activated
as a response to flooding. The UC Riverside team hopes to use the knowledge
about rice in activating the genes in other plants to help them survive

The research team led by UC Riverside professor of genetics Julia
Bailey-Serres examined cells located at the roots' tips as roots are the
first responders to flood. Root tips and shoot buds are also where the
plant's prime growing potential resides. These two regions contain cells
that can help a plant become more resilient to flooding.

The genes involved in flooding adaptations are called submergence
up-regulated families (SURFs). While UC Riverside researchers performed
flooding experiments and analysis of rice plant genomes, their colleagues at
UC Davis did the same with the tomato species while the alfalfa-type plant
work was done at Emory University. They found that SURFs were activated in
all the plants during flooding experiments, but their genetic responses were
not as effective as in rice. The group now plans to conduct additional
studies to improve survival rates of the plants that currently die and rot
from excess water.


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