Gene helps rice grow in phosphorus-poor soils

Rice, like all plants, needs phosphorus to grow. But there’s a problem for this crop, the most important calorie source in Asia. Much of the soil it’s grown on is low in phosphorus, and yields suffer as a result.

What’s more, world supplies of phosphorus — it comes from phosphate rock — are expensive for poor farmers and won’t last forever.

So it would be very helpful if rice plants could be altered to tolerate low phosphorus levels. Scientists in the the Philippines, Japan and Italy have now reported doing just that.

The trick was to go back to rice varieties from east India that are known to grow better than most in poor soils.

View the original article here: Gene helps rice grow in phosphorus-poor soils

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