Rice experts from the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) in Japan and partners found a rice gene that confers broad-spectrum resistance to β-triketone herbicides.

Benzobicyclon (BBC), a β-triketone herbicide, is useful in many rice paddies, however, some rice varieties are susceptible to BBC. Discovery of the genetic cause of this susceptibility will help breeders develop BBC-resistant crops. The results of the study are published in Science.

 

NARO scientist, Hideo Maeda, and colleagues pinpoint the rice gene HPPD INHIBITOR SENSITIVE 1(HIS1), which confers resistance to BBC and other herbicides of its kind. The researchers found that HIS1 encodes a specific enzyme that detoxifies the herbicides by speeding up its degradation. Further analysis revealed that BBC-susceptible rice inherited a dysfunctional his1 from indica rice. When HIS1 was expressed in Arabidopsis, the resulting plants showed resistance not just to BBC but to four other β-triketone herbicides.

 

Based on the findings, HIS1 could be used to develop herbicide resistant crops.

 

Read the research article in Science.