If rice can grow under water, why can't corn or soybeans? Researchers atIowa State University (ISU) are well on their way to answering thatquestion.

They are studying a class of proteins (hemoglobins) - discovered about twoyears ago and found to be in all plants - as a possible key to a plant'ssurvival in standing water. This oxygen-helping hemoglobin is what makesrice grow best under water.

The research team, headed by Mark Hargrove, ISU assistant professor ofbiochemistry, is working to discover if and how rice is making use of thesehemoglobins. If the researchers' theory is correct, corn could begenetically engineered to thrive in flooded-out fields.