Rice can ‘borrow’ stronger immunity from other plant species, study shows

Apr 3, 2015

Credit: Earth100/Wikipeidia

By Phys.org

Like most other plants, rice is well equipped with an effective immune system that enables it to detect and fend off disease-causing microbes. But that built-in immunity can be further boosted when the rice plant receives a receptor protein from a completely different plant species, suggests a new study led by UC Davis plant-disease experts.

The study findings, which may help increase health and productivity of , the staple food for half of the world’s population, are reported online in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

“Our results demonstrate that disease resistance in rice—and possibly related crop species—could very likely be enhanced by transferring genes responsible for specific immune receptors from dicotyledonous plants into rice, which is a monocotyledonous crop,” said lead author Benjamin Schwessinger, a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology.

Immune receptors vary between plant groups:

Receptors are specialized proteins that can recognize molecular patterns associated with disease-causing microbes, including bacteria and fungi, at the beginning of an infection. These receptors are found on the surface of plant cells, where they play a key role in the plant’s early warning system.

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One comment on “Rice can ‘borrow’ stronger immunity from other plant species, study shows”

  • This is great news for enhancing food security in the future. The only sad thing is how the article had to say “borrow immunity” or “receive from a completely different species” just to avoid saying genetic engineering. Towards the end, they finally used the GE words, but I was amazed how long they avoided it.

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