Annual Report 2002 - Cornell University
003 Selected Faculty Research

24 Engineering rice to tolerate environmental stresses

Ray J. Wu, Molecular Biology and Genetics, and research colleagues demonstrated a strategy for genetically engineering rice and other crops for increased tolerance to major environmental stresses such as drought, salt, and temperature, and at the same time, for improved yields. The researchers added genes to synthesize a naturally occurring sugar called trehalose. Trehalose is found in a variety of organisms, but much less so in plants, except for resurrection plants in which trehalose gears them to survive long desert droughts, coming back to vibrancy when moisture is available. Wu's strategy includes learning how to turn on the trehalose genes in transgenic plants when stresses occur, such as the onset of colder temperatures, as well as learning how to make trehalose in particular parts of the plants such as the leaf, but not the edible grains. Raising the quality and quantity of food for parts of the world with dwindling resources is an important research mission.

> Back  /  > Next Article  /  > Back to Listing

© 2003 by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research [OVPR], Cornell University.

Cornell University  
314 Day Hall
Ithaca, New York

P: 607.255.7200
F: 607.255.9030
E: VP Research
C: Credits