🍚 Super rice gives 40 percent greater harvests
By copying a single gene in a rice plant, it is possible to increase yields and significantly reduce the need for artificial fertilizers.
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Rice is the staple food for 3.5 billion people in the world, so any improvement in rice cultivation can have a major impact on the world's food supply. So when Science now reports that a research group has succeeded in raising the yield of a rice variety by 40 percent, it is something that can give us the opportunity to feed many more people in the future.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences succeeded in doing so by copying a gene already present in the rice, so that there are now two copies of that gene in the plant's DNA. What the copied gene does is that it improves the rice plant's ability to absorb nitrogen. This allows the plant to make better use of the soil it grows in and produce larger yields.
The rice variety that the researchers worked with is a variety that is often grown in China, so the farmers are already used to working with the variety, which means that the introduction of the new variety should go smoothly. The fact that less fertilizer is required to grow the rice also makes it more environmentally friendly.
There is still no commercial cultivation of the new variety and there can always be a concern about changing plants with genetic engineering. But since it is not a question of introducing a foreign gene into the rice, but only modifying an existing gene, it may be easier for the researchers to get permission to carry out larger tests.
The gene in question is also found in other cultivated plants, so it is possible that the method could also provide greater yields for crops such as wheat.
Read the entire study here.
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