Scientists at Cornell University in the US say they have created a new variety of genetically altered rice that is designed to better withstand drought and other adverse weather conditions. A Cornell spokesman said that the key to improving the drought resistance of rice was synthesising a naturally occurring sugar called trehalose. Trehalose is produced naturally in a wide variety of organisms but usually in small amounts, except for in plants that are capable of surviving prolonged droughts in the desert, according to Cornell biologist Ajay Garg. If successful, there is a possibility that the technique could also be used to improve the drought resistance of corn, wheat, soybeans and sugarcane.