Nav: Home

Flood, drought and disease tolerant -- one gene to rule them all

March 13, 2018

An international collaboration between researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Nagoya University and the University of Western Australia has resulted in a breakthrough in plant biology. Since 2014, the researchers have worked on identifying the genetic background for the improved flood tolerance observed in rice, wheat and several natural wetland plants. In a New Phytologist, article, the researchers describe the discovery of a single gene that controls the surface properties of rice, rendering the leaves superhydrophobic.

One gene to rule them all! The gene is called LGF1. It controls the nano-structure of leaf surfaces. During flood events, the gene enables survival of submerged rice since the wax nano-structures retain a thin Leaf Gas Film; hence the name of the gene, LGF1. The gas films facilitate gas exchange with the floodwater so that carbon dioxide can be taken up during the daytime in order to fuel underwater photosynthesis, and oxygen can be extracted at night.

The LGF1 gene also confers drought tolerance, since the tiny wax crystals reduce evaporation from the leaf surfaces, conserving tissue water.

Superhydrophobic surfaces retain a thin gas film when under water, and the gas film enables the stomata to function also during submergence. The stomata regulate the uptake of CO2 (carbon dioxide) for photosynthesis during the day, but also the uptake of O2 (oxygen) during darkness, enabling aerobic respiration. Without the protective layer of gas, the floodwater blocks the stomata and the gas exchange with the environment is greatly restricted; the plants are virtually drowning!

- 'We have used advanced microelectrodes both in controlled laboratory experiments and in the field situation to reveal the benefits of leaf gas films during submergence', says professor Ole Pedersen, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen.

Long-term effects are still a puzzle

- 'We have assessed the importance of leaf gas films during submergence of rice, and in some situations, rice grows equally well above as well as below water - only because rice possesses the LGF1 gene', continues Ole Pedersen.

The implications of these findings are huge. Worldwide, climate changes have already resulted in an increased number of floods and in order to sustain food supply in a wetter future, the world needs climate-smart crops that better tolerate flooding.

- 'The superhydrophobic leaf properties that are coded by the LGF1 gene are, however, lost after a few days of submergence; the plants start drowning as the leaves become wet. Thus, our research now focuses on overexpression of the LGF1 gene. The overexpression should coat the leaves with more wax crystals and in this way prime the plants for a flood event. The fact that it is all controlled by just a single gene makes the goal much more realistic', concludes professor Ole Pedersen.

Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

Related Rice Articles:

New rice fights off drought
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have developed strains of rice that are resistant to drought in real-world situations.
Domesticated rice goes rogue
We tend to assume that domestication is a one-way street and that, once domesticated, crop plants stay domesticated.
Protecting rice crops at no extra cost
A newly identified genetic mechanism in rice can be utilized to maintain resistance to a devastating disease, without causing the typical tradeoff -- a decrease in grain yield, a new study reports.
Every grain of rice: Ancient rice DNA data provides new view of domestication history
Now, using new data collected samples of ancient, carbonized rice, a team of Japanese and Chinese scientists have successfully determined DNA sequences to make the first comparisons between modern and ancient rice.
Four newly identified genes could improve rice
A Japanese research team have applied a method used in human genetic analysis to rice and rapidly discovered four new genes that are potentially significant for agriculture.
Infants who ate rice, rice products had higher urinary concentrations of arsenic
Although rice and rice products are typical first foods for infants, a new study found that infants who ate rice and rice products had higher urinary arsenic concentrations than those who did not consume any type of rice, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
New resource for managing the Mexican rice borer
A new article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management provides information on the biology and life cycle of the Mexican rice borer (Eoreuma loftini), and offers suggestions about how to manage them.
Fighting rice fungus
Plant scientists are uncovering more clues critical to disarming a fungus that leads to rice blast disease and devastating crop losses.
The origin and spread of 'Emperor's rice'
Black rice was prized in ancient times for its color and is prized in modern times for its high levels of antioxidants, but its early history has been shrouded in mystery until now.
Trigger found for defense to rice disease
Biologists have discovered how the rice plant's immune system is triggered by disease, in a discovery that could boost crop yields and lead to more disease-resistant types of rice.

Related Rice Reading:

Bone Music (The Burning Girl Series)
by Christopher Rice (Author)

There’s more than one way to stoke the flames of revenge…

Charlotte Rowe spent the first seven years of her life in the hands of the only parents she knew—a pair of serial killers who murdered her mother and tried to shape Charlotte in their own twisted image. If only the nightmare had ended when she was rescued. Instead, her real father exploited her tabloid-ready story for fame and profit—until Charlotte finally broke free from her ghoulish past and fled. Just when she thinks she has buried her personal hell forever, Charlotte is swept into a frightening new ordeal.... View Details

Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra
by Anne Rice (Author), Christopher Rice (Author)

From the iconic and bestselling author of The Mummy and The Vampire Chronicles, a mesmerizing, glamorous new tale of ancient feuds and modern passions.

Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to... View Details

Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months
by Maurice Sendak (Author), Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

Maurice Sendak, the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of the iconic Where the Wild Things Are, created a warmly loved classic book of months, in verse, with Chicken Soup with Rice.

This rhyming book cleverly uses a little boy’s love for soup to teach children the months of the year and features Sendak’s imaginative drawings and lyrical verses.

Who says you can only slurp chicken soup with rice in cold January or freezing December? Chicken soup with rice is nice all year round!

View Details

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom
by Condoleezza Rice (Author)

From the former secretary of state and bestselling author -- a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.

"This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work...Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed." --The New York Times

From the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the ongoing... View Details

Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat (Vampire Chronicles)
by Anne Rice (Author)

The Vampire Chronicles continue with a riveting, rich saga--part adventure, part fairy-tale--of Prince Lestat and the story of the Blood Communion as he tells the tale of his coming to rule the vampire world and the eternal struggle to find belonging, a place in the universe for the undead, and how, against his will, he must battle the menacing, seemingly unstoppable force determined to thwart his vision and destroy the entire vampire netherworld.

In this spellbinding novel, Lestat, rebel outlaw, addresses the tribe of vampires, directly, intimately, passionately, and tells the... View Details

The Witching Hour (Lives of Mayfair Witches)
by Anne Rice (Author)

Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding stoyrtelling, Anne Rice makes real a family of witches--a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philsophy, a family that is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous and seductive being.
"Unfolds like a poisonous lotus blossom redolent with luxurious evil."

Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking
by Fuchsia Dunlop (Author)

2014 James Beard Award Winner in the International Category

“A must-have for anyone who wants to cook Chinese food at home, home cooks and professionals alike.”―David Chang, Momofuku

Fuchsia Dunlop trained as a chef in China’s leading Sichuan cooking school and possesses the rare ability to write recipes for authentic Chinese food that you can make at home. Following her two seminal volumes on Sichuan and Hunan cooking, Every Grain of Rice is inspired by the vibrant everyday cooking of southern China, in which vegetables play the starring... View Details

One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
by Demi (Author)

A rajah who believes himself to be wise and fair uses his hungry people's rice for himself year after year, until a village girl named Rani devises a clever plan using the surprising power of doubling to win a billion grains of rice from the rajah. Tour. View Details

Rice: Poems
by Nikky Finney (Author), Kwame Dawes (Foreword)

In Rice, her second volume of poetry, Nikky Finney explores the complexity of rice as central to the culture, economy, and mystique of the coastal South Carolina region where she was born and raised. The prized Carolina Gold rice paradoxically made South Carolina one of the most oppressive states for slaves and also created the remarkable Gullah culture on the coastal islands. The poems in Rice compose a profound and unflinching journey connecting family and the paradoxes of American history, from the tragic times when African slaves disembarked on the South Carolina coast to the... View Details

Interview with the Vampire
by Anne Rice (Author)

#1 New York Times Bestselling author - The spellbinding classic that started it all - Book I of the Vampire Chronicles

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.

Praise for Interview with the Vampire
“A magnificent, compulsively readable thriller . . . Rice begins where... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Consequences Of Racism
What does it mean to be judged before you walk through the door? What are the consequences? This week, TED speakers delve into the ways racism impacts our lives, from education, to health, to safety. Guests include poet and writer Clint Smith, writer and activist Miriam Zoila Pérez, educator Dena Simmons, and former prosecutor Adam Foss.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#465 How The Nose Knows
We've all got a nose but how does it work? Why do we like some smells and not others, and why can we all agree that some smells are good and some smells are bad, while others are dependant on personal or cultural preferences? We speak with Asifa Majid, Professor of Language, Communication and Cultural Cognition at Radboud University, about the intersection of culture, language, and smell. And we level up on our olfactory neuroscience with University of Pennsylvania Professor Jay Gottfried.