The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) announces that a wild rice species has been crossed with cultivated rice to breed a salt-tolerant hybrid. Field trials are underway. If all goes well, this might allow farmers to grow rice on land which has become salty, after flooding or for other reasons such as climate change which raises sea levels.
No genetic modification (GM, genetic engineering) was involved. Biotechnology, yes indeed, as a photograph of ’embryo rescue’ shows in the IRRI article. The achievement is a hybrid between two rice species which don’t usually interbreed. It’s a bit like a vegetable mule. Except that horses and donkeys can interbreed quite easily whereas the wild rice Oryza coarctata doesn’t usually breed with cultivated rice Oryza sativa.