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Swarna-Sub1: Rice Seed That Can Survive Floods

Farmers in AP, India

Image via Wikipedia

Its quite remarkable. Scientists have developed a rice seed that can survive floods (under water) for more than 2 weeks.

It is not uncommon to see many of us loosing the entire crop due to floods almost every year (particularly so in Andhra Pradesh, India). Hope, this will change our fortunes.


I have seen proof that agricultural science can make people’s lives better. This summer, I attended a roundtable discussion in New Delhi with scientists who developed a new variety of rice called Swarna-sub1. The amazing thing about Swarna-sub1 is that it can survive underwater for more than two weeks, which means it could revolutionize life for millions of farmers in flood-prone areas of India. The researchers used a fascinating technique called marker assisted selection to introduce a single allele, a version of a gene, into an existing rice variety to make it flood tolerant.

I also met with representatives from local NGOs, seed companies, and the government of India to talk about their plans for delivering new seeds to farmers. The government’s goal is to have more than 5 million hectares planted with Swarna-sub1 in just five years.

- Bill Gates - What I’m thinking - We Need Productivity and Sustainability

Also commend Indian government’s goal to have more than 5M hectares planted with this seed within 5 years.

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