VIDEO: Low-cadmium rice cultivar made possible by University of Tokyo discovery
Cadmium, a heavy metal toxic to human health, is present in very high levels in Japanese people compared to people from other countries. Cadmium poisoning results in itai-itai disease, a condition that softens bones and leads to kidney failure. Rice toxicity is often the result of rice being grown in irrigation water contaminated by the cadmium from industrial areas. The University of Tokyo recently identified a rice transporter gene called OsLCT1 that, when suppressed, can result in up to a 50% reduction in grain cadmium content without reducing crop yields or grain nutrient content. This research lays a foundation for the development of a low-cadmium rice cultivar.