In the news...

June 27th, 2018 / The Hindu, India

Researchers at the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Rice Research have developed a new variety of the popular Improved Samba Mahsuri (ISM) rice that can resist bacterial blight disease.

Bacterial blight disease, which affects rice crop, is caused by bacteria, Xanthomonas oryzae, and drastically reduces rice productivity.

The high yielding ISM variety is already protected against bacterial blight by three genes, but the new variety has been developed by adding another gene, Xa38, that increases the resistance. “Till now about 41 resistant genes have been identified from diverse sources.

These genes differ from each other in their mode of action. While some are broad spectrum, others are narrow in their resistance spectrum,” explained Dr Gouri Sankar Laha, who led the study, while speaking to India Science Wire.

The researchers used Marker assisted Backcross Breeding or MABB technique to accomplish the gene insertion. Unlike transgenic techniques used in genetically modified crops, MABB is less laborious but more efficient than traditional methods of ‘gene’ transfer. Besides it does not require regulatory clearances necessary for transgenic crops. Read more