According to the sources, recently a team of Bangladeshi researchers led by Professor Zeba Islam Seraj of Dhaka University have developed four transgenic saline-tolerant rice varieties, which are capable of producing 50% higher yield than the saline-tolerant varieties. Under this innovation, a particular pea gene ‘helicase’ was infused that contains into four high yielding rice varieties (HYVs) BRRI Dhan-28, BRRI Dhan-29, BRRI Dhan-36 and BRRI Dhan-47. The pea gene ‘helicase’ was procured from the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and by using Agrobacterium as carrier infused the salt-tolerance vigour into home-grown rice variety “Binnatoa”. Thereafter, the Scientists crossed the helicase-infused Binnatoa with the four selected HYVs. It was told that Agrobacterium is an important material in genetic engineering as it is capable of transferring organism’s genetic information between itself and plants.
Further, it was stated that the team is initially focusing on two transgenic varieties derived from BRRI Dhan-28 and BRRI Dhan-47 as they are considered to have higher yield potential and higher resistance to salinity. It was told that the two rice varieties would be put on confined trials inside BRRI’s transgenic greenhouse followed by field trials after getting the permission from the biosafety regulators. It has been noted that the farmers can have the transgenic rice for cultivation in two to three years in case the trials are successful.
In this context, it was revealed that there are salinity level up to 15/16 decisiemens per meter in coastal regions but even if we can cover 50% of the moderate salinity-prone farmland under transgenic rice, the country’s rice productivity would have a significant boost. Showing satisfaction over the development of new varieties of rice, the Agriculture Minister observed that the new rice varieties which can withstand salinity would support the government’s policy of promoting Boro in the southern coastal regions and rain-fed Aman and Aus in the northern regions.