Narrator: This is Science Today. Globally, rice is the most important food for humans and every year, millions of rice farmers in the poorest areas of the world lose their entire crops to flooding. Now researchers have developed a gene that enables rice to survive complete submergence. Julia Bailey-Serres, a professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside is a member of the research team.
Bailey-Serres: A conservative estimate of the crop damage that's done internationally is one billion dollars per year and that's U.S. dollars. This unfortunately affects the poorest of farmers as well and so the impact on poor farmers when they are supplied lines that are submergence tolerant could be tremendous.
Narrator: The researchers are also interested in combining two traits in rice lines - the submergence tolerant with a salinity tolerance trait.
Bailey-Serres: Because in many flood prone areas, the water that's submerging the plant is actually saline water because this is in river delta areas.Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.