How Southern California researchers are developing the food of the future

Gene editing and selective breeding are among the methods used to deal with a changing climate and growing population.
By Alex Groves | Orange County Register |

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - When you think of plant breeding at UC Riverside, the university’s work with citrus to combat Huanglongbing, or citrus green disease, might be what comes to mind, but researchers there are also working to advance the way rice and even tomatoes are grown. 

The Center for Plant Cell Biology is leading research into such topics as how to increase crop yield and resistance to pests, as well as creating sustainable biofuels. The center utilizes the skills of UCR’s graduate students through a graduate training program called Plants3D (the 3D stands for discover, design and deploy). 

Professor Julia Bailey-Serres, director of the Center for Plant Cell Biology, and her group of researchers are examining ways to make rice that can better withstand a wide variety of conditions. She said rice does well in the wet conditions of paddies, but it’s possible that the paddies can dry in drought. 

“What we’re working on is trying to figure out what we can do with rice that will allow it to do well, whether it’s in a paddy or it’s in dry soil,” Bailey-Serres said.



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