Taiwan creates breakthrough with climate change-resistant rice

Key to what could be a world saving innovation is technique that controls rice's glucose mechanism

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/11/18
By: Huang Tzu-ti, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

(Pixaby photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A leading research institution in Taiwan has developed a genome editing method capable of helping rice adapt to environmental changes caused by increasingly frequent, extreme weather events.

A study by Academia Sinica is said to have discovered the secret to controlling glucose levels in plants, including rice, a staple in many countries. Like humans, plants need a balanced glucose mechanism to grow strong, said the government-sponsored research institution.

The key lies in the technique to manage αAmy levels, which is a type of enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of starch into sugars and thus affects glucose concentrations in rice. With this technological breakthrough, rice production is expected to increase by a factor of 1.5 times — even as as the food supply is disrupted due to water shortages and droughts, reported TechNews.

Improved rice cultivation will help address an alarming global food crisis as the output of the world’s four major staple foods — corn, rice, wheat, and soy beans — have dwindled since 2010, wrote the report. The aim is to boost crop production by 60 percent by 2050, when the planet's population is set to reach 9 billion, said Yu Su-may (余淑美), a researcher involved in the study at the Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica.    [FULL  STORY]

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