Source: University of California, Riverside

Rice, which is sensitive to drought due to its high water requirement, is particularly vulnerable to how global climate change is altering the frequency and magnitude of floods and droughts. If rice plants' combined tolerance to flooding and drought could be improved, however, rice productivity could be protected and even substantially increased.

Now plant scientists at the University of California, Riverside have made a discovery that can greatly benefit rice growers and consumers everywhere. The researchers have demonstrated in the lab and greenhouse that rice that is flood tolerant is also better able to recover from a drought.

"Flood tolerance does not reduce drought tolerance in these rice plants, and appears to even benefit them when they encounter drought," said Julia Bailey-Serres, a professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, who led the research project.

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