Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene's Past Could Improve The Future Of Rice

Date:
January 30, 2009
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
In an effort to improve rice varieties, a research team traced the evolutionary history of domesticated rice by using a process that focuses on one gene. Studying the gene allows researchers to better understand how it evolved over time through natural selection and human interaction. Understanding the variations could allow scientists to place genes from wild rice species into domesticated rice to create varieties with more favorable characteristics.

Purdue researcher Scott Jackson looks at an image of the rice genome. He traced the evolutionary history of rice in an effort to improve future varieties.
Credit: Purdue Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell

In an effort to improve rice varieties, a Purdue University researcher was part of a team that traced the evolutionary history of domesticated rice by using a process that focuses on one gene.

Related Articles


Scott A. Jackson, a professor of agronomy, said studying the gene that decides how many shoots will form on a rice plant allows researchers to better understand how the gene evolved over time through natural selection and human interaction. Understanding the variations could allow scientists to place genes from wild rice species into domesticated rice to create varieties with more branching, increased plant size or other favorable characteristics.

By comparing the domesticated plant to other wild rice species, they discovered a lot of genetic variation in rice over millions of years.

"This is a way to find these valuable genes in non-domesticated rice and bring them into cultivated rice," Jackson said. "We need to grow more food to feed the human population, and it needs to be done on less land and with less water. This could be the way to do that."

Jackson worked with Rod A. Wing of the University of Arizona and Mingsheng Chen of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and they were the corresponding authors for the study. Their findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online version this week.

The research team developed a tool to compare genes in different species of Oryza, of which domesticated rice is a species. Jackson said the comparisons showed how rice has changed from as far back as 14 million years ago. As rice adapted to climate changes and other natural circumstances, its genetic structure changed, keeping some genes and losing others.

About 10,000 years ago, humans began making their own genetic modifications, albeit unknowingly, by choosing plants that had favorable traits. As they stopped growing plants with unfavorable characteristics, genes responsible for those traits disappeared.

"Humans knew that if the seeds stayed on the plant, or it had a higher yield, they could save some of the seeds to plant next year," Jackson said. "That was unintentional breeding."

Those favorable genes are still around in wild rice species because they were valuable for plants in other climates or situations, he said.

Jackson was involved with earlier research that looked at cell structure in rice and also is studying the gene responsible for flowering in rice plants. Once those genes are better understood, scientists can match the best genes for particular climates to give growers better yields.

One example can be found in a variety of rice that has genes making it drought-resistant. Scientists could breed those genes into domesticated rice in Africa where water shortages can devastate crops.

National Science Foundation funding contributed to the research in addition to other grants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lu et al. Comparative sequence analysis of MONOCULM1-orthologous regions in 14 Oryza genomes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812798106

Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Gene's Past Could Improve The Future Of Rice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123164359.htm>.
Purdue University. (2009, January 30). Gene's Past Could Improve The Future Of Rice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123164359.htm
Purdue University. "Gene's Past Could Improve The Future Of Rice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123164359.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Hundreds of snakes, disturbed by a construction project, were relocated to a wildlife rescue association in Canada. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) Zookeepers at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia decided to take some of their favorite animal photos and recreate them by posing just like the animals. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins