1. Home
  2. Agriculture World

Chinese Researchers Discover Gene Linked to Crop Alkali Tolerance

Chinese researchers have uncovered a critical gene that aids crop tolerance to salty conditions. The gene was called "AT-1" (Alkali Tolerance One), and the researchers believe it may assist enhance crop output in saline-alkaline soils.

Shivam Dwivedi
Discovered gene has a high value and significance in the application (Pic Credit-CGTN)
Discovered gene has a high value and significance in the application (Pic Credit-CGTN)

It was discovered by analysing the varied responses to alkali of a large number of sorghum types as well as their genome information. "If AT-1 modified crops can be planted in 20% of the world's salinized soil, there would be at least 250 million tonnes of higher crop yield each year worldwide," Xie Qi, a scientist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, told China Global Television Network.

The latest discovery goes beyond the previous accomplishments of Chinese scientists. It is based on research on sorghum, a traditional crop that originated in Africa, where much of the soil has been salinized. Nonetheless, it has been used on crops such as rice, wheat, maize, and millet.

"The gene is associated to both salt and alkali, whereas most previously reported genes were solely related to salt. And, globally, 60% of sodic terrain is rich in alkaline, with just 40% dominated by salt," Xia stated.

"As a result, the gene has a high value and significance in the application," Xi added. He is also the team leader for the project's eight Chinese firms.

This crew has been working for years in the hopes of increasing agricultural production in sodic countries. They have been travelling to sodic areas in various parts of China since 2017 to conduct countless experiments in challenging settings and weather.

"We conducted study on several different species of sorghum and discovered the gene... before moving on to rice, wheat, maize, and millet," Xie explained. These scientists are concerned about food security and the global depletion of arable land. They hope that by better exploiting the world's nearly 610 million hectares of sodic land, they will secure a better future for all humanity.

International No Diet Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters