Chinese scientists have found a gene which plays an important role in helping indica rice, planting in tropical and subtropical regions, tolerate the high-temperature climate.
Rice cultivated in Asia includes two distinct subspecies: indica rice and japonica rice. Indica rice is mainly planted in tropical and subtropical regions with warm climate, while japonica rice is mainly planted in temperate and cooler regions.
Apparently, typical indica and japonica have been adapted to different environmental temperature during natural and artificial selection. Previously, Chinese researchers at the Institute of Genetics and Development Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences demonstrated that the early selection of bZIP73 gene facilitated adaptation of japonica rice to cold climates.
Recently, after analyzing 4,219 rice samples, they found the natural variations of the gene, SLG1, confer high-temperature tolerance in indica rice.
"Rice is one of the most important cereal crops feeding more than half of the world's population. With global warming and climate change, the yield and quality of rice are often reduced by high-temperature stress," said YAO Shanguo, a lead scientist in the research.
"The discovery may contribute to the next generation rice breeding for the changing climate and warming globe," said YAO.
Figure. Selection model of the SLG1 alleles during domestication (Iamge by IGDB)