by Heather Callaghan

August 29, 2013
from NaturalBlaze Website






Genetic modification is touted as the only way to feed starving nations, yet they often have decreased yields or lead to superweed and insect resistance.

But there are solutions other than changing the entire ecology. Biodiversity, crop rotation techniques, or... simple crossbreeding!

Earlier in August, a study published in Nature Genetics showed promising results by Japanese researchers headed by Yusaku Uga, researcher with the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Japan.

Rice is heavily studied now - it is a large part of nearly half of the world's daily diet. However, it doesn't do well at all in drought conditions, mainly because of its shallow root system.

A Deeper Rooting 1 (DRO1) gene found in 60 rice varieties - and when its roots were pointed down instead of sideways - created roots twice as deep as usual. This could allow it to adapt to drought by reaching more water and nutrients in the soil. The results of what they did with those findings were amazing.

They found that in moderate droughts, the DRO1 rice yield was double of typical shallow-rooted rice. But in severe drought it became even greater with 3.6 times more yield.

Uga had said:

The most important point is that we had rice grains produced under drought conditions. When rice crops just tolerate drought, they cannot get water and nutrients, resulting in a kind of survival mode.

They crossbred one type of rice that contained DRO1 with a more typical shallow root variety and then bred those offspring to make a crop where the DRO1 gene was forefront.

Crossbreeding, which has gone on for centuries, is not anywhere near the same thing as genetic modification, as companies like Monsanto want people to believe.

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) thinks that 8-10 million extra tons of rice are needed annually to keep prices at an affordable $300 per ton. Drought affects India greatly among other countries.

However, it should be noted, that IRRI is backed by Gates and Rockefeller Foundations and they are forcefully pushing GM field trials with Golden Rice, especially in the Philippines, with the "best of intentions."


Even though the poor, the hungry, and the farmers it was designed for responded by trampling and uprooting the trial.

Another type of GM rice trial is going on in China. And during that trial, researchers discovered that the GM glyphosate-resistant breed designed to thwart invasive weedy rice counterparts, actually bestows its transgenic material on them through cross-pollination, making them an even stronger threat.

Without changing the ecology, simple crossbreeding techniques can often innovate adaptable varieties to create stronger yields during drought; thereby feeding more, bolstering the economy, and negating millions in research for GM breeds that could be hazardous to human, animal, and environmental health or create more farming troubles.


















Rice Gene

...Digs Deep to Triple Yields in Drought
by Science and Development Network
August 6, 2013

from AsianScientist Website


Japanese researchers have identified

a gene that triples the yield of rice during droughts

by giving rice plants deeper roots.


A gene that gives rice plants deeper roots can triple yields during droughts, according to Japanese researchers writing in Nature Genetics this week (4 August).

Rice is a staple food for nearly half of the world’s population, but is also particularly susceptible to drought owing to its shallow roots, researchers say.

The new study shows that by pointing roots down instead of sideways, the Deeper Rooting 1 (DRO1) gene results in roots that are nearly twice as deep as those of standard rice varieties.

“If rice adapts to or avoids drought conditions using deeper roots, it can get water and nutrients from the deep soil layers,” says the study’s lead author Yusaku Uga, a researcher with Japan’s National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences.

Yusaku Uga and his team found that in moderate drought conditions, the yield of rice with DRO1 was double that of the shallow-rooted rice variety.


Under severe drought conditions, this increased to 3.6 times greater.

“The most important point is that we had rice grains produced under drought conditions,” says Uga.

“When rice crops just tolerate drought, they cannot get water and nutrients, resulting in a kind of survival mode.”

The DRO1 gene occurs naturally in more than 60 rice varieties. For the study, the research team crossbred a rice variety carrying DRO1 with a shallow-rooted variety and then bred the offspring together to produce a rice crop in which DRO1 was uniformly present.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) estimates that an additional 8-10 million tonnes of rice will be needed each year to keep rice prices affordable at around US$300 per tonne.


Finding a drought-resistant variety of rice may be key to attaining this goal, according to researchers.

“Drought is the most widespread and damaging of all environmental stresses,” says Sophie Clayton, head of communications at IRRI.

“In some states in India, severe drought can cause as much as 40 per cent yield loss [in rice crops]. Moreover, with the onset of climate change, droughts may become more frequent and more severe.”

The article can be found at: Uga et al. (2013) Control of Root System Architecture by DEEPER ROOTING-1 Increases Rice Yield Under Drought Conditions.