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Climate change spurs research to develop heat-tolerant rice, wheat

| | December 4, 2018
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Wheat with DNA tweaked to beat the heat, and redesigned rice that can flourish in hot, dry conditions. Work is now underway to bring these kinds of genetically edited foods to dinner tables around the world, with the new rice estimated to be in bowls by about 2039, all necessitated by our warmer …. planet.

“I think the genes and pathways that we’re identifying through our approach — spanning cell biology to whole plant physiology — could be good candidates for GM …. intervention” to keep yields up, MIT assistant professor David Des Marais [said].

Des Marais and his team are working on a …. project to find the genetic foundations for responses to heat and water stress in a grass species related to wheat and rice …. He added that genetic editing based on the team’s research could be “a good opportunity to improve crop resilience and food security in at-risk locations around the world.”

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Another endeavor Des Marais called “very exciting” is the C4 Rice Project. A 10-institution effort headquartered at Britain’s Oxford University, the project’s goal is to genetically alter rice — a “C3” plant, so-called because of the three-carbon molecules it makes during photosynthesis — into “C4” plants …. In short, C4 plants produce more grain from the same amount of sunlight.

Read full, original article: The Future of Food: Beating the heat with genome-edited crops

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