The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research has awarded more than $1.7 million to University of California, Davis, researchers to identify genes responsible for drought tolerance in rice and test a new energy-efficient food-drying process.

A $1 million Seeding Solutions grant will go to a project to study the genetics of rice plants. The research is being led by principal investigator Pamela Ronald, distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Pathology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Genome Center at UC Davis. She and researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and collaborators, will develop and implement a chemistry-driven gene discovery approach to identify rice genes that influence root growth. The project targets protein kinases, enzymes that control diverse biological process in plants, such as root architecture and drought response.