With severe weather conditions threatening food supplies everywhere, this new research from the Philippines is more important than ever.
Scientists at the International Rice Research Institute are honing in on a gene found in Kasalath rice from India. The gene is called Phosphorous Starvation Tolerance-1, and scientists say that they can breed the gene into other forms of rice – boosting crop yields by 20%.
As scientist, Sigrid Heuer, says, “When we look at the young seedlings, we find that they have a little bit larger root system, at a very early developmental stage. And this enables plants to explore a larger area in the soil, to forage… more phosphorous. And this gives the plant, especially under phosphorous-deficient conditions… a growth advantage.”
Better yet, the addition of the phosphorous-boosting gene means that fertilizer isn’t as important. So this research could lead to lower production costs down the road, too.