Japanese researchers using particle accelerator to breed salt resistant rice

May 11, 2012 by Bob Yirka report
Cambodia, Kratie: A worker is removing the rice seedlings. Image: Wikipedia

(Phys.org) -- Japanese researchers at the Riken Nishina Centre for Accelerator-Based Science have been using their particle accelerator to cause mutations in rice for over two decades with the aim of breeding rice that is more resistant to saltwater. Up to now their results have been limited; just one new salt resistant rice variety has been created and it faced mixed reactions regarding taste. But now, because of the tsunami in that country last year that contaminated a lot of farmland with seawater, efforts there have picked up and researchers are reportedly coming close to developing a whole host of new saltwater resistant strains.

The idea isn’t all that novel, breeding new varieties of plants has been done for centuries. What the researchers at the facility are doing is speeding up the process. All breeding is based on mutations that occur in plant cells. Those mutations that create positive results in plants are favored over those that don’t. Over time successive generations result in plants that are ever closer to what is desired. With the , the research team at Riken, led by Tomoko Abe, fire an ion beam at grains of rice, creating a huge variety of mutations in their genes; afterwards the grains are planted and tested to see which are more resistant to saltwater. Those that are go through testing and are sometimes bred with other varieties with the hope of finding the perfect mix of salt resistance and good taste. In so doing the team is able to create new strains of rice in just a few years that normally would take decades using natural mutation methods.

Developing strains of rice that are resistant to the salt in seawater is important, not just for Japan, which saw yields drop by over half in areas where the sea inundated , but for many other countries in the world as well. With both rising populations and ocean levels, land that is occasionally flooded by the sea could be made useable if strains of rice can be developed that are able to grow there.

The researchers at Riken have already developed strains that see yields drop by just twenty percent when inundated with , and are hoping to improve that number as more research continues. They expect to see fully resistant rice strains as soon as four years from now.

Explore further: Computational method dramatically speeds up estimates of gene expression

Related Stories

Examining rice genes for rice blast resistance

Oct 17, 2011

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have characterized the molecular mechanism behind some plants' ability to resist rice blast, a fungal disease that affects cereal grain crops such as rice, wheat, rye and barley ...

Study shows genetic rice breeding goes back 10,000 years

Jun 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Masanori Yamasaki and colleagues from Kobe University in Japan, describe how they analyzed the genomes of severa ...

Gene's past could improve the future of rice

Jan 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- In an effort to improve rice varieties, a Purdue University researcher was part of a team that traced the evolutionary history of domesticated rice by using a process that focuses on one gene.

Recommended for you

User comments : 22

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lurker2358
1.9 / 5 (9) May 11, 2012
We are already eating too much food that has GM and growth hormones.

I believe part of the modern obesity epidemic in the U.S. and Europe is caused by modified foods and livestock augmented with growth hormone.

The clinical testing of these foods was inadequate, and it comes as no surprise that the majority of the increase in obesity has been in the past two decades, after GM and growth hormone enhanced practices became popular.

Notice how humans are starting to look more and more like over-fed pigs and cows? There's a reason. The chicken, pork, and beef we all eat has growth hormones in it. The corn has BT toxins in it, and so on.

This stuff has got to be doing something detrimental in the human body, which is producing un-natural growth and food addictions.
Ji_Podiv_n
3.4 / 5 (5) May 11, 2012
We are already eating too much food that has GM and growth hormones.

You obviously dont know anything about this.GM food is actualy safer than normal because it is tested much more then normal breeds.Also you seem to forget one thing people are geting fatter in Europe too and there is only one breed of GM corn allowed in agriculture.
And one last thing bio-farming is Much less prudoctive than GM farming so if you want people to die in millions because of malnutrition go ahead and be against GMO, they will surely thank you.
And if you dont believe me, check some studies, there even was an article about this on phys.org, or show me your data, oh wait you dont have any. :D
Lurker2358
3.7 / 5 (3) May 11, 2012
You obviously dont know anything about this.GM food is actualy safer than normal because it is tested much more then normal breeds.


Impossible. Normal breeds were in use for thousands of years.

Also you seem to forget one thing people are geting fatter in Europe too and there is only one breed of GM corn allowed in agriculture.


Read again. I specifically mentioned Europe.

And one last thing bio-farming is Much less prudoctive than GM farming so if you want people to die in millions because of malnutrition go ahead and be against GMO, they will surely thank you.


Begging the Question. False Dilemma.

We are actually burning half our food right now as biofuels, for no good reason...even as people...starve by the millions in Africa.

Example:
Hydroponics and aeroponics have been shown to produce massively multiplied returns over the long term, including higher resource efficiency, higher seasonal yield, and even extra growth seasons.

Continued...
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (2) May 11, 2012
Moreover, I'm not in favor of anyone dying.

If we are going to use GM or hormone enhanced foods, we should at least test it on several generations of animals for a good 10 or 20 years to see what it does to them.

Nutrition and metabolic epidemics in the U.S. are out of control, and it's not just about eating salads or fruits either.

I've actually started eating salads more often lately, and found that it increased my appetite and made me want to eat more, and I actually gained 5 or 6 pounds back during the time I was eating a traditional salad, and I was using no dressing!

That's not my fault.

There's something screwed up in our food when a person does what they are supposed to do and ends up worse off for the effort.
DickWilhelm
5 / 5 (7) May 11, 2012
Correlation is not causation. The obesity epidemic is a product of our modern lifestyle. We sit around with little to no physical activity and eat calorie rich food, of course fat is going to be produced... that's how our bodies work. You're blaming GM food for genetics and/or the choices that individuals make.

In all my reading on GM food I never seen a shred of evidence that it is in any way detrimental to human health. This type rambling is nothing more than FUD spread by the misinformed or biased.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (3) May 11, 2012
Man, there needs to be long term, double-blind studies done on natural foods vs GM and hormone enhanced, and I mean for many months or years.

You need a control group of normal people eating their normal diet.

Another group eating only natural, non-enhanced foods.

Another group eating only GM and hormone enhanced foods.

You'd need to supply each of the second groups meals for like a year or two or something, and observe the changes in their BMI, total health, blood pressure, heart health, CBC and Metabolic panel, etc, every 6 months or something for several years.

Sure, it would cost a lot of money, but that's the only way to figure out which of these foods is poisoning us.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease caused by insulin regulation problems in the body, which is of course hormonal in it's roots. It doesn't just happen because you ate an extra sandwich or walked one mile less than another guy, but GM foods and hormone modified foods might be contributing to it. It makes sense.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (4) May 11, 2012
There's fat diabetics and there's thin diabetics. Blaming that on lifestyle or even natural genetics is just bullshit.

Meh,I haven't even gotten into the discussion of artificial food preservatives...which is in everything. It's literally impossible to find food without it unless you raise it yourself, or buy it directly from the farmer's market.
kaasinees
2.7 / 5 (7) May 11, 2012
The range of symptons of diabetes are large and a larger % of the population has diabetes than people realize, a lot of people do not get diagnosed.
Diabetes has everything to do with diet.
We can safely assume GM crops create unwanted side affects. There is a reason Europe is against GM crops.
Also the jumps in diabets took a few decades, if it was genes causing it would take generations not decades.

Also why the rice tastes different because the acid composition of the rice is different, ofcourse that creates side affects when digested.
aroc91
not rated yet May 11, 2012
Also the jumps in diabets took a few decades, if it was genes causing it would take generations not decades.


It's not like the widespread integration of processed, sugar-rich foods into the average diet could have done that instead of GM crops, right?

kaasinees
1 / 5 (2) May 11, 2012
Also the jumps in diabets took a few decades, if it was genes causing it would take generations not decades.


It's not like the widespread integration of processed, sugar-rich foods into the average diet could have done that instead of GM crops, right?


Sugar beets have also gone through extensive GM processes, so what is the difference?
Telekinetic
3 / 5 (2) May 12, 2012
I question the inducement of mutations with ion beams. A mutation is a mutation is a mutation? Has this been proven to be safe? More Frankenfood? Most artificial sweeteners are dangerous to your health like Aspartame and Splenda, and that phony fat Olestra are avoided by anyone but those with a death wish. The human immune system recognizes familiar and foreign molecules and acts accordingly. It wouldn't surprise me if things like this triggered auto-immune reactions that haven't been diagnosed as such. The shame of it is Japan is really in a bind, and it desperately needs to find a way to adapt rice to grow in a salty marsh. It may be their only solution at the moment, unless there are wild rice strains that grow in saltier environs.
zz6549
3.7 / 5 (3) May 12, 2012
The range of symptons of diabetes are large and a larger % of the population has diabetes than people realize, a lot of people do not get diagnosed.
Diabetes has everything to do with diet
...


No, all we can prove is that obesity -> type II diabetes, and we can maybe suggest that GM foods created an abundance of food leading to obesity (but this is only speculation). But claiming that consuming GM food DIRECTLY causes diabetes is complete garbage - you haven't even proposed a means for this causation.

We can safely assume GM crops create unwanted side affects.

No, no we can't. To "safely assume" something, you are implying that should your assumption be wrong there would be no major negative consequence. Assuming GM crops have any kind of negative side effect is very dangerous, because by restricting GM crops, the price of food is increased and the quality is decreased.

There is a reason Europe is against GM crops.

Not a good reason though.

kaasinees
1.7 / 5 (6) May 12, 2012
No, all we can prove is that obesity -> type II diabetes,

No we can prove that diabetes is the basis of many diseases/symptons and that diabetes is caused by improper diet, this is basic biology and knowledge.
But claiming that consuming GM food DIRECTLY causes diabetes is complete garbage

GM crops increase toxicity to fight off insects etc. That means you are also eating those plant toxins that otherwise be lower twice or more. Not only do they produce more toxins they also produce improper acid components that are detrimental to health when digested. Also basic biology and knowledge.
Assuming GM crops have any kind of negative side effect is very dangerous

I cant list all the negatives here(char limit).
because by restricting GM crops, the price of food is increased and the quality is decreased.

Price of food has increased because companies have monopolies on GM crops, fertilizers etc.
Not a good reason though.

One example aspartame, good reasons.
aroc91
5 / 5 (3) May 12, 2012
they also produce improper acid components that are detrimental to health when digested. Also basic biology and knowledge.


Can you expand on these "improper acid components"?
Sanescience
5 / 5 (1) May 12, 2012
Wow, the pseudo science is strong on this topic. Are GMO foods to be taken lightly? Of course not. Do they save the lives of countless people? Of course they do. Is mutating a plant the same as GMO? Not by GMO definitions I've seen, but that is a bit off topic.

Its not a black or white issue? The idea!
Telekinetic
5 / 5 (1) May 12, 2012
" Is mutating a plant the same as GMO? Not by GMO definitions I've seen, but that is a bit off topic."- Sanescience
"In what other ways can genes be altered?
Not only genetic modification can be used to change animal and plant genes.
Spontaneous changes, radiation, chemicals and traditional processing can also alter the characteristics of a plant or animal.
Radiation and chemicals can be used in order to effect gene alteration. Both elements are sometimes used in plant processing."-Bionet
The jury is still out if GMO's are sane science.
Telekinetic
5 / 5 (1) May 12, 2012
"Correlation is not causation. The obesity epidemic is a product of our modern lifestyle. We sit around with little to no physical activity and eat calorie rich food, of course fat is going to be produced... that's how our bodies work. You're blaming GM food for genetics and/or the choices that individuals make."-DickWilhelm

Nearly a century ago, it was commonplace to buy jars of sauerkraut with radium salts embedded around the lids. At the time they believed the radium would boost the healthful properties of the food. In Denver, helicopters would locate "hotspots" with aerial geiger counters and relocate residents if a high radiation level was found. When it comes to toying with nature, being leery of technique and motive can be a lifesaver.

Objectivist
2.3 / 5 (3) May 13, 2012
I believe part of the modern obesity epidemic in the U.S. and Europe is caused by modified foods and livestock augmented with growth hormone.

And do you have anything to base this assumption on? Such as a shred of evidence pointing to the highly unlikely possibility of ingested hormones remaining intact throughout the harsh environment of our intestine systems?
If we are going to use GM or hormone enhanced foods, we should at least test it on several generations of animals for a good 10 or 20 years to see what it does to them.

You're just making up numbers. I'm pretty sure there are researchers and institutes that have a rather good idea regarding how long a new type food should be tested and on what.
Man, there needs to be long term, double-blind studies done on natural foods vs GM and hormone enhanced, and I mean for many months or years.

I'm so glad we cleared that out. I mean it used to be "a few months", and that was just basically up for interpretation.
kaasinees
1.8 / 5 (5) May 13, 2012
Growth hormones are known to have health effects on people, i am sure you can google the articles i am a little tired right now.

As for harmful acid compositions i could not find any articles on the net, give me a lab and a team and i will gladly prove it with concrete evidence.

As for toxicity, they(FDA) says they are in safe levels, yet they are much higher than normal. This is insanity, they disregard the long term effects of digesting harmful toxins that took us million years to develop resistance against by a level our bodies are not accustomed to, if you believe that has no effect whatsoever on human physiology you are plain stupid and are against evolution.

Why are all the studies done by big pharma and not independently or by universities?

You eat GMO's you combust coal, you eat/drink mercury, you eat/drink PCB's and then you wonder why you get cancer.
aroc91
3.7 / 5 (3) May 13, 2012
As for harmful acid compositions i could not find any articles on the net, give me a lab and a team and i will gladly prove it with concrete evidence.


"They produce improper acid components that are detrimental to health when digested. Also basic biology and knowledge."

Basic biology that you can't provide literature for, nor propose a mechanism, nor propose even a name or structure for those "improper acid components"?
Objectivist
3 / 5 (2) May 13, 2012
Growth hormones are known to have health effects on people, i am sure you can google the articles i am a little tired right now.

I never said that growth hormones are harmless to humans. I merely claimed that by the time the hormones are picked up by the body they have been dissolved into many constituents, of which you fail to show any evidence of toxicity. Having said that I think you're full of nonsense. You have nothing to back up your claims other than google-it-yourself-arguments and ridiculous assumptions like "Why are all the studies done by big pharma [sic] and not independently or by universities?"

And yeah, I'm "plain stupid and against evolution" for not listening to the rantings of a hippie.
Objectivist
3 / 5 (2) May 13, 2012
Correction:
I merely claimed that by the time the hormones are picked up by the body when entering through the digestive system they have been dissolved into many constituents, of which you fail to show any evidence of toxicity.

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.