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Scientists to Study Rice to Find Gene for Saline Tolerance

A team of scientists will study the response of rice, the staple food of half the world’s nearly 7 billion people, in saline soil conditions under a 4-year, US$4 million grant from the US National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Program.

The study will be headed by New York University’s (NYU) Michael Purugganan, a prominent Filipino-American scientist, and Richard Bonnaeu, both part of NYU’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology.

“We are hoping we can identify genes that can help rice tolerate more saline soils. There is certainly evidence in African rice for this,” Purugganan told Rappler in an interview. “If we identify genes for salt tolerance, then breeders can use this information to breed salt-tolerant rice varieties.

Yayan Indriatmoko/CIFOR

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