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Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 21:04 GMT 22:04 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Thai scientists probe flood-resistant rice

Scientists in Thailand say they've isolated a gene in rice which could lead to higher crop yields in flood-plains where rice is often planted.

The gene helps rice survive when covered by flood water; at the moment, a crop may be ruined if left submerged for five days or more.

A BBC correspondent says the research at Kasetsart University in Bangkok is part of an international effort to deal with the major problem of flooding at the wrong time in the growing cycle.

The research project, funded by the European Union, also involves scientists in India, Singapore and the Netherlands. The scientists are now examining whether rice with the flood-resistant gene is good at coping with another common problem faced by rice farmers -- not too much water, but too little.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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