Shanghai scientists have made new breakthroughs in the research of heat resistance genes and their mechanisms in rice, and their findings were published on the website of Science on Friday.
The research, conducted by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, could address the problem of yield reduction due to global warming.
The study discovered that there are two antagonistic genes — TT3.1 and TT3.2 — in the gene locus TT3 that controls rice heat resistance quantitative traits. The genetic module composed of the two genes can regulate the high temperature resistance of rice and chloroplast protein degradation. Researchers also found the first potential receptor of high temperature in crops.
The research team obtained a novel heat-resistant variety by playing up the gene locus TT3, and found that its yield increase effect was about one-fold compared to that of the controlled counterpart. Meanwhile, the plot yield under high temperature stress in the field rose by around 20 percent.
Researchers also proved that by over expressing TT3.1 or knocking out TT3.2 under high temperature stress, the yield of rice would increase by more than 2.5 times.
High temperature will reduce crop production by 30 to 40 percent globally in 2040, according to scientists’ forecast. When the average temperature rises by 1 degree globally, the output of major crops, including rice, wheat, and corn, will decrease by 3 to 8 percent.
“Improving the high temperature resistance of different crop varieties and maintaining their yield stability under extreme high temperatures are of great significance to effectively coping with food security issues caused by global warming,” said Lin Hongxuan, a corresponding author of the paper and a researcher at the Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences.