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Flood-tolerant rice plants can also survive drought, say UC Riverside scientists
Date:3/2/2011

molecular level Sub1A serves as a convergence point between submergence and drought response pathways, allowing rice plants to survive and re-grow after both extremes of precipitation.

Study results appear in the January issue of The Plant Cell. The journal has the highest impact factor of primary research journals in plant biology. The research paper also has been selected as a recommended read in the Faculty of 1000.

Bailey-Serres's lab investigated the drought tolerance of flood-tolerant rice plants because her research team wanted to be sure that the flood tolerance trait, which the lab has studied for many years, did not reduce the ability of the plant to endure some of the other common stresses such as drought.

"We found that Sub1A properly coordinates physiological and molecular responses to cellular water deficit when this deficit occurs independently, as in a time of drought, or following 'desubmergence,' which takes place when flood waters recede," Bailey-Serres said.

She explained that after a flood, a period follows when the leaves that have been submerged lose water and become dehydrated. Moreover, because a period of dehydration is part of the natural progression of a flood, Sub1A also happens to have benefits after desubmergence and is therefore important for drought tolerance as well.

"Our finding suggests that the plant recovers well from drought by growing new shoots," Bailey-Serres said. "This is something that is also seen with flooding."

Next, colleagues of Bailey-Serres at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines will test the Sub1A rice for drought tolerance in the field.


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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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