Bangladesh develops first GMO rice variety

11.01.2018

Scientists in Bangladesh have developed the country's first biotech rice variety giving farmers an answer to the difficulties they face in harvesting the staple with machines.

Stems of BRRIdhan-86, the variety that got release approval yesterday, are strong and stout and easy to reap by mechanical harvesters. This will come handy to farm owners, who have dearth of labourers and also find it difficult to use harvesters.

BRRI breeders told UNB that the new variety, with half a tonne of extra yield potential per hectare over the country's most produced rice variety BRRIdhan-28, is derived from Iranian rice variety Niamat through application of a biotech tool called anther culture.

Anther culture, applied for the first time in rice science in Bangladesh, is a biotech plant culturing technique where immature pollens are made to divide and grow into tissues either on solid and liquid medium.

The scientists at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) have also developed a new rice variety with the highest ever zinc (27.6 mg/kg) content. BRRIdhan-84 also got approval along with three more new rice varieties yesterday.

The prospect of higher rice yield through the release of the new varieties also comes against the backdrop of diminishing returns from the country's rice fields.


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