Professor Ari Sadanandom
Exploiting protein modification systems to boost flooding tolerance in rice.
Partners; Professor Michael Holdsworth (University of Nottingham, UoN, UK), Dr Shalabh Dixit, (IRRI, Philippines)
Rice plants typically induce elongation in the stems and leaves in an attempt to escape flooding. Rice varieties containing the SUB1A gene switch to a quiescent or dormant state restricting elongation and conserve energy till the flood recedes and then induce tillering thereby positively impacting yield. Introgression of the SUB1A gene into elite Indian variety, Swarna, resulted in a variety that maintains all favorable properties of Swarna and is able to withstand submergence of up to 15 days. Development of new Sub1 varieties is near completion for countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and tropical Africa.
While SUB1A is important to ensure rice productivity in vast flood prone areas of the world, recent increases in frequency and magnitude of submergence due to extreme weather events across Asia is negatively impacting SUB1A efficacy. New knowledge that boosts SUB1A efficacy will add significantly to the yield potential of rice. Scientists in the UK (Durham and Nottingham) have made ground-breaking fundamental discoveries on the key genetic and biochemical determinants of submergence tolerance. Working in collaboration with in-country partners IRRI, this UK-based team will test this knowledge in the field to build a robust solution to one of the world’s largest agricultural challenges.