(JAPAN)

A team of scientists in Japan has developed a strain of rice which has proved resistant to drought in real world conditions.

And with mounting pressures on food production created by an increasing global population set to hit 10 billion by 2050, this could prove to be a major breakthrough in respect to food security and the environment.

The RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) team discovered a gene present in Arabidopsis plants can be used to modify  rice with spectacular results.

“The Arabidopsis GolS2 gene was first identified with basic research at RIKEN,” said RIKEN scientist Fuminori Takahashi. “Using it, we were able to improve resistance to drought-related stress, and increased the grain yield of rice in dry field conditions. This is one of the best model cases in which basic research knowledge has been successfully applied toward researching a resolution to a food-related problem.”

Takahashi said the rice could be on the market within five to 1o years.

CSRS collaborated with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia and the Japanese International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) in Japan in the study, which was published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal.