Science To Make Farmers Self-Sufficient: Cloned Hybrid Seeds To Enable Re-Planting

Swarajya Staff

Dec 14, 2018, 12:03 PM | Updated 12:03 PM IST

Farmers manually threshing rice. (Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Farmers manually threshing rice. (Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Americans and French have successfully tweaked a hybrid variety of Rice Japonica (Asian variety) and produced cloned seeds, Mint has reported. Prof Venkatesan Sundaresan at University of California (Davis), post-doctoral researcher Imtiyaz Khanday, researchers from the Iowa State University and INRA, France were part of the study.

The research conducted by scientists was published in the latest edition of the journal Nature. This would enable farmers to re-plant seeds from their own hybrid plants and derive the benefits of high yields year after year. They will not have to purchase expensive new seeds every year.

Rice gene named “Baby Boom 1” (BBM1) is expressed in sperm cells. After fertilization, the gene is expressed in the fertilized cell. Researchers found that this expression initially comes from the male contribution to the genome. The team used gene-editing techniques to remove the ability of plants to undergo sexual reproduction, enabling egg cells to be formed asexually.

“Ensuring that crops pass on hybrid qualities to seeds has been a major challenge, but the current research fills gaps in previous studies,” Plant Geneticist at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad Imran Siddiqui remarked on the new research.

Indica and Japonica are the two major varieties of rice grown around the world. Japonica is grown in countries with cooler climates. Indica is cultivated in countries with hot temperatures such as India.

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