May 18, 2024

Supercharging Drought Resistance in Crops by Blocking Gene That Inhibits Root Growth

New research study published in the journal New Phytologist recommends that blocking an unfavorable regulator gene called RRS1 (Robust Root System 1) can enhance root development in plants, causing longer root length, longer lateral root length, and bigger lateral root density. The study shows that preventing the expression of RRS1 may improve dry spell resistance in crops by promoting water absorption. This could be achieved by utilizing natural variants of RRS1 that change the activity of the protein.
A strong root system enables crops to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, but scientists have little details about the genes that control root development. Recent research study released today (March 8) in the journal New Phytologist reveals that obstructing an unfavorable regulator gene of root advancement leads to boosted root growth in plants.
The gene, called RRS1 (Robust Root System 1), encodes an R2R3-type MYB household transcription element that activates the expression of another gene (OsIAA3) that hinders root development. Knocking out RRS1 in plants led to longer root length, longer lateral root length, and larger lateral root density. A natural variant of RRS1 that changes the activity of the RSS1 protein had a similarly beneficial effect on roots.
The findings show that blocking the regular expression of RSS1 may enhance drought resistance in crops by promoting water absorption.

” RRS1 is a brand-new gene resource for enhancing root systems and cultivating drought-resistant rice ranges through gene-editing or marker-assisted breeding processes,” said co– matching author Zichao Li, PhD, of China Agricultural University, the Sanya Institute of China Agricultural University, and the Hainan Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Reference: “RRS1 shapes robust root system to boost dry spell resistance in rice” 8 March 2023, New Phytologist.DOI: 10.1111/ nph.18775.