Salt Tolerant Rice Variety Developed by Indian Scientists

Date & Time: 2019-06-25 05:34:41

A group of Indian scientists at the Division of Plant Biology at Bose Institute supported by funds from the Department of Biotechnology has developed a new salt-tolerant transgenic rice plant by over-expressing a gene from a wild rice called Porteresia coarctata into the commonly used IR 64 indica rice variety. Porteresia coarctata is a native of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar and is grown mainly in saline estuaries.  There are several plants called halophytes that are rich sources of salt stress tolerance genes and Porteresia coarctata is one of them. One of the genes isolated earlier by Prof Majumder’s group from this plant, PcINO1 , codes for a salt tolerant enzyme which synthesizes inositol even in presence of salt while the second gene isolated by the group , PcIMT1 from the same plant converts inositol to another compound called pinitol. The researchers over-expressed these two genes into IR64 indica rice. They generated three types of transgenic lines: one with introgression of PcINO1 only, the second with PcIMT1 only and the third with combinations of both. The rice lines created with PcINO1 gene exhibited significantly higher tolerance, with a salt concentration of upto  200 micromole per litre or higher in pots, with little compromise in growth or other physiological parameters. The two other transgenic lines, one with PcIMT1 gene alone and the second with both PcINO1 and PcIMT1 genes were less efficient.