MSSRF to Receive Funding to Develop Salt-Tolerant Rice
MSSRF is set to partner with the University of Tasmania, Australia to develop salt-tolerant rice in a project to be funded by the Australia – India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF). The three-year project is to begin in June, this year. This was announced by Australian Foreign Minister, Ms Julie Bishop, and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Sciences, Mr Christopher Pyne, on March 30, 2016, in New Delhi. This is among the six grants from the Australian government particularly on themes of agriculture productivity, food security and clean energy.
This project will work on a wild rice variety (Oryza coarctata) that is capable of growing in saline conditions, to characterize novel genes and their saline tolerance levels and transformation of the genes in to rice cultivars for developing salinity tolerant rice varieties. MSSRF has already done substantial work on the gene isolation, characterization and transforming genes from halophytes in to rice cultivars to ensure food security with specific emphasis on genetic shielding of crop plants against abiotic stress. This research is particularly important in the context of climate change and anticipated sea level rise and increasing salinization of land posing challenges towards agriculture. Both AISRF and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India will contribute for the funding of six projects. The other grantees in this round include ICRISAT, TNAU, TERI, IISc and the Sugarcane Breeding Institute.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.