UC Davis Researcher Helps Create Waterproof Rice

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

UC Davis rice geneticist Pamela Ronald and a team of international scientists identified the rice gene responsible for flood tolerance. Then they used “precision breeding” to produce new rice varieties. Ronald says the benefits of “precision breeding” outweigh any possible hazards. 

“The risks are so minute and there are so many people that need to eat rice this introduction of this single genomic region is expected to enhance the livelihood of 30 million people in a year and many of these people live on less than a dollar a day.” 

Ronald says about 4 million tons of rice is lost to flooding every year, especially in India, Bangladesh and other parts of Southeast Asia. That’s enough to feed millions of people in regions of the world where rice is a dietary staple. 

Researchers expect the new rice plants will be available to farmers within the next two years.