Bailey-Serres and her collaborators have focused in particular on Sub1A, a gene responsible for flood tolerance and found only in some low-yielding rice varieties in India and Sri Lanka.
The characterization of the Sub1 trait in labs at UC Riverside and UC Davis has enabled researchers at the International Rice Research Institute to use sophisticated breeding technology to precisely transfer Sub1A into popular high-yielding rice varieties of countries in South and Southeast Asia, adding a much desired trait in these varieties: recovery after prolonged submergence.
The new rice varieties, which are already popular because of their pest- and disease-resistance and excellent grain quality, recently passed field tests in Bangladesh and India, and will be made available within two years to smallholder farmers in flood-prone areas in those countries.
"Prof. Bailey-Serres is the latest in a long line of eminent UC Riverside plant scientists," said Thomas O. Baldwin, the dean of UCR's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. "Since the beginnings of the university with the founding of the Citrus Experiment Station, what has distinguished our researchers is their rigorous knowledge of the very newest science coupled with a determination to use that science on everyday human problems."
The USDA funding of the Rice Sub1 Project began in the mid-1990s with two grants to Ronald and Mackill totaling nearly $490,000. Subsequently, three other USDA grants were awarded to Bailey-Serres, Ronald and Cynthia Larive, a professor of chemistry at UCR, bringing the grand total of USDA funding to the research team to nearly $1.45 million.
"The Sub1 project provides an excellent example of a productive research collaboration between a breeder and two molecular geneticists," Bailey-Serres said. "Each of the groups brought distinc
|Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala|
University of California - Riverside