QAre the submergence tolerant rice varieties developed by IRRI -GM Crop? Is it possible to have drought tolerant and salinity tolerant GM Crop?

Are the submergence tolerant rice varieties developed by IRRI -GM Crop? Is it possible to have drought tolerant and salinity tolerant GM Crop?

AExpert Answer

Interesting questions.  No, it is not "GM."  The submergence tolerant rice developed by IRRI (The International Rice Research Institute) is based on a trait first identified in "land race" rice cultivars first collected in the 1950s.  The role of biotechnology is that modern gene sequencing technology (marker assisted breeding) was used to identify the "locus" or part of the rice genome so that it could be more efficiently bred into modern cultivars.  The trait involves two or three genes but it was not moved into the modern cultivars with genetic engineering techniques which is what is often called "GMO."  The process is described here:’s-Journey-from-Landrace-to-Modern-Cultivar?secret_password=1hgwimrg7y7hursw38yz


Drought tolerance and salinity tolerance are important traits that are being pursued in three ways.  Traditional plant breeding has been making steady progress, particularly with regard to drought tolerance.  Marker assisted breeding is accelerating that process.  There has also been a great deal of basic research in academia and companies on transgenic approaches to these stress tolerance traits.  It will probably take more time to understand which will have the greatest benefit under a range of real-world conditions.  

Posted on October 26, 2017
An "LMO" (Living Modified Organism) is basically a GMO that is alive and capable of passing on its genes to a subsequent generation. In most situations, the terms LMO and GMO are essentially synonymous, but neither term is really used by most biotechnologists! More on that below.    The term LMO was used in the Cartegena Protocol (basically a big document that came out of an international convention several years ago, more detailed info here.)   The reason we as... Read More
Posted on October 6, 2017
Biotechnology as a discipline focuses on understanding molecular biology and has applications in medicine/health, environmental science, industrial products and agriculture. Biotechnology is widely used in all these sectors. I will focus my answer on agricultural biotechnology.   In many countries (e.g., Brazil, Canada, India, and the United States) a significant amount of agricultural research, especially basic research in molecular biology, is conducted by governmental agricultural... Read More
Posted on October 20, 2017
We assume your question is about altering plants, not the “planet” – and in terms of plants being altered, humans have been modifying the genetics of plants (and animals) to feed ourselves for thousands of years. For more information on agricultural changes to plants, get to know GMOs and see how food is modified here. And to better understand why GMOs were initially created in agriculture and the evolution of crop modification we encourage you to read more here.... Read More

Explore More Topics