Rice plants evolve to adapt to flooding

phys.org | 7/12/2018 | Staff
vpp1219 (Posted by) Level 3
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Although water is essential for plant growth, excessive amounts can waterlog and kill a plant. In South and Southeast Asia, where periodic flooding occurs during the rainy season, the water depth can reach several meters for many months.

Rice varieties known as "deepwater rice" have developed a unique strategy to ensure their own survival. Deepwater rice grows normally in shallow water but in heavy floods increases its height in keeping with rising water levels, to enable the plants to ride out lengthy floods.

Research - Team - Takeshi - Kuroha - Tohoku

A research team comprising Takeshi Kuroha at Tohoku University, Motoyuki Ashikari at Nagoya University, Susan R. McCouch at Cornell University and colleagues in Japan and the U.S.A., have discovered a gene in rice that is critical to its survival in flood conditions. They have also shed light on its molecular function and evolutionary history.

The research group identified the SD1 (SEMIDWARF1), as a key gene responsible for the deepwater rice's response. The SD1 encodes a biosynthesis enzyme of gibberellin—a plant hormone. The gene orchestrates the deepwater rice response via a unique gain-of-function allele. When submerged, rice accumulate ethylene, a gaseous plant hormone. Deepwater rice amplify a signaling relay in which the SD1 gene is transcriptionally activated by an ethylene-responsive transcription factor,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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