A group of Indian scientists have developed a new salt-tolerant transgenic rice plant, at Kolkata-based Bose Institute, by over-expressing a gene from a wild rice called Porteresia coarctata into the commonly used IR 64 indica rice variety.
Porteresia coarctata is a native of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar and is grown mainly in saline estuaries.
The new crop could withstand salt concentration of up to 200 micromole per litre or about half as saline as sea water without affecting normal growth and grain yield under greenhouse conditions .
The study has also indicated that inositol, a vitamin like substance found in all plants and animals including human being, acts as a stress-ameliorator and as a switch for a number of other pathways important for imparting salt-tolerance.
The rice lines created with PcINO1 gene exhibited significantly higher tolerance, with a salt concentration of upto 200 micromole per litre or higher in pots, with little compromise in growth or other physiological parameters.
The two other transgenic lines, one with PcIMT1 gene alone and the second with both PcINO1 and PcIMT1 genes were less efficient.
The new findings assume importance particularly in the context of the growing concerns over the global climate change. There is a particularly need to develop new rice varieties that are salt and drought resistant.
This is a ‘India Science Wire’ story, edited by Clean-Future team