Expression of Arabidopsis DREB1C improves survival, growth, and yield of upland New Rice for Africa (NERICA) under drought
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Dehydration-responsive-element-binding protein 1 genes have important roles in response to stress. To improve the drought tolerance of an upland rice cultivar NERICA1, we introduced Arabidopsis AtDREB1C or rice OsDREB1B driven by a stress-inducible rice lip9 promoter. Plants of some transgenic lines survived better than non-transgenic plants under severe drought. AtDREB1C transgenic plants had higher dry weights than non-transgenic plants when grown under moderate drought until the late vegetative growth stage. On the other hand, OsDREB1B transgenic plants had lower dry weights than non-transgenic plants under the same condition. Similar results were obtained under osmotic stress. The AtDREB1C transgenic plants headed earlier, had a larger sink capacity, and had more filled grains than non-transgenic plants. These results suggest that AtDREB1C expressed in NERICA1 improves not only survival under severe drought, but also growth and yield under moderate drought.
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