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Project Information


Reference Number 2020-0327
Project Title Transformation of indica rice with candidate genes for drought yield and survival
Project Type Contained Use (Laboratory)
Status Ongoing
Name of Institution International Rice Research Institute
Cooperating Institution New York University (NYU)
Supervising IBC International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
Project Leader(s)

Dr. Inez H. Slamet-Loedin and Amelia Henry

Experimental Facility/Site Genetic Transformation Laboratory (GTL), Transgenic greenhouse and seed storage (transgenic seed lab) and transgenic screenhouse
Purpose / Objectives
  1. Develop  transgenic lines with genes for drought-yield component and identify  and homozygous lines for physiological and molecular characterization

       2. Assess whether constitutive and native expression of target genes results in increased yields under drought conditions.

Biosafety measures

Restricted access and movement of transgenic materials.  Storage of transgenic seeds in dedicated transgenic seed storage and proper disposition of excess transgenic materials.

While most of the rice consumed globally is harvested from plants grown in irrigated paddy fields that have high water availability, rice from rainfed environments are of higher importance in the lives of millions of smallholder farmers, who depend on adequate rice harvests for their livelihoods. Moreover, as climate change is predicted with rising global temperatures, this will undoubtedly result in shifting water availability in different rice growing areas (Morton et al., 2007; Long et al., 2010; Foley et al., 2011).

There is a pressing need to understand plant responses to water deprivation and identify genes that can be used to breed new crop-resistant varieties. To that end, we initially focused on the systems genomics of rice response to drought and general water deprivation. We were able to identify candidate genes, genetic networks and genomic variants that affect gene expression differences and directly connect gene regulatory variation to crop yield (Groen et al, 2020). Stepping off from those results we move towards Green Super Rice drought resistant lines. We aim to develop transgenic rice and test if the genes we identified previously indeed deliver superior drought performance in IR64.

Transgenic plants produced will be analyzed for transgenes presence. Furthermore, the number of inserts in positive plants will be determined by Southern blot. Expression studies of the selected plants using quantitative PCR will be made by GTL to determine transcript levels of the gene. The DNA or seeds derived from the selected primary transgenic lines will be transported to New York University for further analysis. The site of the contained experiment is the Genetic Transformation Laboratory and transgenic glasshouse at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Los Baños, Laguna. The project is expected to be completed in two years.

Conditions for Approval N/A
Date of Approval (DD-MM-YYYY) 22-08-2020
Date of Completion (DD-MM-YYYY) N/A
Executive Summary

Climate models have consistently shown that drought episodes will increase in frequency and severity in the coming 50 years as a result of global climate change (Gregory et al. 2005), with potentially severe impact on agriculture particularly in developing countries. Indeed, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) described climate change as one of the primary factors for an increase in global hunger for the third consecutive year. There is therefore an urgent need to prepare for the effects of climate change by developing climate-ready crops, especially those that feed a substantial portion of the world’s population.

In order to better understand plant responses to water deprivation and identify genes that can be used to breed new crop-resistant varieties, we have focused on the systems genomics of rice response. Our project’s initial two goals were: (i) to identify genes, genetic networks and genomic variants that affect gene expression differences in key loci in response to drought stress, and directly connect gene regulatory variation to crop yield and; (ii) to identify deleterious mutations that continue to segregate in global rice populations. Using new approaches in evolutionary and functional genomics, we have largely succeeded in these two broad objectives. By an innovative merger of analyses from plant genomics, systems biology and evolutionary ecology, we have identified genes associated with rice fitness under drought (Groen et al. 2020).

Stepping off from those results we move towards testing the Osmad and rubisco genes we identified for future Green Super Rice drought resistant lines. Transformation vectors containing these genes driven either by its native or ubiquitin promoter will be developed by New York University. We aim to develop transgenic rice and test if the genes we identified previously indeed deliver superior drought performance in IR64. Transgenic plants produced will be analyzed for transgenes presence. Furthermore, the number of inserts in positive plants will be determined by Southern blot. Drought response studies of the selected plants will be made by the system physiology group to determine drought tolerance. The DNA or seeds derived from the selected primary transgenic lines will be sent to New York University for further analysis. All activities of the project will be conducted at the Genetic Transformation Laboratory, transgenic glasshouse (CL4) and TG-02 screenhouse at IRRI, Los Baños, Laguna. The project is expected to be completed in two years.