Fresh Genetic tool for Hybrid Rice

New hybrid rice breeding

New Hybrid Rice Breeding:

Rice along with wheat and maize are considered as the three main leading crops in the world.

  1. In combination they directly provide more than 50% of the total calories consumed by the whole human population. Among the three, rice contribute 21% of the global human per capita energy and 15% of per capita protein. Also, protein in rice is ranked high in nutritional quality than in cereals where protein content is modest. Other than protein, rice also consists of minerals, vitamins, and fiber, but during milling process all constituents except carbohydrate are reduced.
  2. Adaptability of rice makes it a suitable crop for all most all climates. Rice is cultivated in all most all parts of the earth, except Antarctica. At present, rice has thousands of strains available in the market and it can be raised with other crops and food sources, therefore it is helpful in encouraging biodiversity.

Scientists from across the world are working hard to improve the quality and quantity of rice, and so are the scientist from U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA). They have come up with the new tool that can improve the expression of desirable genes at specific parts of the rice plant where the results will do the most good.

A well renowned geneticist associated with USDA’s, Roger Thilmony, Agricultural research Service (ARS, is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency), Albany, Calif., has demonstrated how LP2 gene promoter can be direct to control other introduced genes to express beneficial traits in specific plant tissues without the potential for causing unintended consequences.

As rice is one of the most important food crop in India and other countries of the world and is under a great threat from various types of pathogens including various strains of bacteria and fungus that are found in agricultural fields worldwide. Scientists those who are working on rice projects have developed diseased-resistant varieties of rice by introducing a gene which may inhibit the growth of disease in one part of the plant, but this may create a chance of reducing the seed quality or could produce other “side effects” because the gene is expressed throughout the plant. LP2, which is a tissue-specific promoter, belongs to a segment of gene that are capable of directing the activity of introduced genes only to specific parts of the plant where beneficial traits are needed.

Thilmony, while working on rice, with his colleagues named James Thomson, Mara Guttman, and Ann Blechl, discovered that the gene which they named LP2 was consistently expressed in green tissues. While performing an experiments, they tried to fuse the LP2 promoter with the “reporter gene” known to produce a specific enzyme, and they have incorporated the fused DNA package into seven lines of the rice to see where the enzyme would be produced.

After the completion of the research they concluded that the LP2 promoter gene steered expression of the reporter gene specifically to greener tissue exactly where photosynthesis occurs. The activity of reporter gene is seems to be highest in the leaves and nearly undetectable in the roots, seeds, and flower parts of the rice plant. From the research they also concluded that LP2 promoter could play major role in improving the variety of rice, barley, and wheat so, therefore could be helpful in the development of biofuel crops, in which scientists need to control leaf traits without affecting other tissues, said Thilmony.

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