Taiwan scientists identify flood-tolerant gene in rice

TAIPEI: A Taiwanese scientist has said her research team has found the gene that allows rice to grow under water and believes the breakthrough could help develop other flood-resistant crops.

The gene, named CIPK15, a type of enzyme, “allows rice seedlings to survive and continue to grow even when submerged in water,” said Yu Su-mei, a research fellow at the Institute of Molecular Biology at Taiwan's Academia Sinica.

Yu said she believed the discovery would help breeders generate new rice varieties with greater seedling growth under flood-water, which would save on labour and use of pesticides, potentially benefitting the environment.

The study was published in the current issue of the Washington-based journal Science Signaling.