Sunday, July 25, 2021

Hmmm..."RNA breakthrough inspires high-yield, drought-tolerant rice, potatoes"

I'm not a precautionary principle purist (a little alliteration) but I do lean toward a go-slow approach to swapping genes in-and-out of food. On the other hand, since I am the one challenging the anti-nuke peeps "Is it a climate emergency or not?" I suppose I should belly-up to the buffet.

From United Press International, July 22 (also on blogroll at right):

Thanks to a breakthrough in RNA manipulation, crop scientists have developed new potato and rice varieties with higher yields and increased drought tolerance.

By inserting a gene responsible for production of a protein called FTO, scientists produced bigger rice and potato plants with more expansive root systems. 

In experiments, the plants' longer roots improved their drought resistance.

Test results -- detailed Thursday in the journal Nature Biotechnology -- showed the RNA-manipulated plants also improved their rate of photosynthesis, boost yields by as much as 50 percent. 

"The change really is dramatic," study co-author Chuan He, professor of chemical biology at the University of Chicago, said in a press release.

"What's more, it worked with almost every type of plant we tried it with so far, and it's a very simple modification to make," He said.

With climate change predicted to expose many agricultural regions to higher temperatures and more frequent droughts, scientists hope their breakthrough will help buffer vulnerable agriculture systems -- and the communities that rely on them -- against climate stress....


 Could we run the rice through a couple hundred generations of guinea pigs first though?