The gene that makes rice grow in soils degraded by climate change
Climate Change Agriculture rice

The gene that makes rice grow in soils degraded by climate change

Dr ASM Mainul Hasan
Dr ASM Mainul Hasan

In 10 seconds? Soils becoming saline (salty) due to climate change are affecting  crops feeding billions of people around the world. American scientists have identified a gene that could help rice withstand the unfavourable conditions.

Why are the results important? According to the FAO, the world needs to produce 70% more food for an additional 2.3 billion people by 2050. Rice is very crucial for this purpose as nearly 76% of the calorie intake of Southeast Asians comes from rice. The crop is essential for 21% of global per capita energy and 15% of per capita protein intake. However, high soil salinity means poor development of rice spikelets and a significantly reduced rice grain yield. At the same time, rice is providing jobs for more than 125,000 people in the USA alone and contributes more than $34 billion to its economy. So, the future potential of creating varieties resisting salinity could yield both economic benefits and improve food security.

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