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August 23rd, 2019 / Food Ingredients

Researchers at the John Innes Centre have come one step closer to genetically engineering rice that is resistant to a globally devastating fungus. The discovery, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, provides new insights into how rice’s immune receptors recognize and bind to fungal proteins. With a grip on how the grain fights illness, researchers hope to arm a variety of rice with the receptors it needs to resist rice blast disease. The fungus causes losses of up to a third of the global rice harvest – enough to feed 60 million people each year, reports the institute.

“Better immune receptors should benefit the whole crop and increase overall yields for farmers. We hope to engineer rice immune receptors to better detect the presence of the rice blast pathogen through binding pathogen “effector” proteins,” explained Lead Researcher Mark Banfield. Read more …