Biotechnological Strategies to Reduce Arsenic Content in Rice
Rice (Oryza sativa) grain containing above a certain threshold level of arsenic (As) is a significant contributor of dietary As intake that acts as a major risk factor for several human diseases. When As-contaminated water is used for irrigation in paddy field, the entry vis-à-vis mobilization of these heavy metal(loid)s from roots to grains inside the plant is facilitated. Amongst several strategies in practice, biotechnological strategies are the most effective ones to reduce the accumulation of heavy metal(loid)s in rice grains. To employ this strategy, identification of the genetic factors associated with As uptake, translocation, accumulation and detoxification in rice plant is very much essential. Some major genes as potential targets for biotechnological applications are discussed here in the context of As-stress mitigation in rice plants. Along with the endogenous rice genes for genetic engineering application, a few genes used for heterologous expression studies to reduce As accumulation in rice from other plants and microorganisms have also been reviewed. The new molecular techniques as biotechnological tools will lead mankind in the quest for food and nutritional security by producing safer rice grains.
KeywordsArsenic uptake and transport Arsenic accumulation Endogenous gene silencing Genetic engineering Heterologous expression Transgenic rice
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