Researchers from the John Innes Centre and Nanjing Agricultural University have identified a protein that can help plants regulate their cell pH – a seemingly small modification that can boost rice crop yields by 50%.
Rice is one of the major crops in the world, along with corn and wheat (also under the microscope of science to increase food security).
As a crop that feeds almost 50% of the world’s population, it is more than understandable that scientists are interested in improving rice. Previous work in this area include the now famous GMO initiative for ‘golden rice’, as well as projects to make it more productive and eco-friendly.
Now, researchers from the John Innes Centre (UK) and Nanjing Agricultural University (China) may have found another important part of the puzzle to turbo-charge rice. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, their work shows that the overexpression of a particular protein could boost production yield by up to 54%.