Rice, first crop plant to be sequenced, may help fight world hunger, Science authors say

ces a super-hybrid with a 20- to 30-percent higher yield per hectare than other rice crops.

A second team, led by Stephen Goff and colleagues at Syngenta, studied the japonica, or Nipponbare subspecies, prevalent in more arid regions. Rice with higher vitamin content may result from the Syngenta research, Goff said: The japonica genome should reveal the gene responsible for Beta-carotene biosynthetic pathways, which facilitates Vitamin A production. Genetic information about rice may also set the stage for hardier, more pest-resistant crops, and help improve the cereals usefulness for brick construction, water filtration and various other uses, he added.

The indica sequence, accessible at GenBank, and the japonica sequence, accessible through Syngenta and in escrow with Science, will help scientists further genomics research and, ultimately, improve the global food supply. A new AAAS agreement, Electronic Information For Libraries (EIFL), will make information published in Science freely available to regions where it is likely to do the most good. Under the EIFL agreement, non-profit organizations in 41 of the worlds poorest nations will receive free access to papers published in Science.



The draft sequence for indica rice, produced by Jun Yu and colleagues, contains 466 million base pairs--3.7 times larger than the only other sequenced plant genome, the mustard plant, Arabidopsis ,but 6.7 times smaller than the human genome.

How does the rice genome compare with the human genome? The Indica genome contains 45,000-56,000genes, and the average length of each gene is 4,500 base pairs long. The number of human genes is still being debated, but may be around 30,000 to 40,000, with an average gene length of 72,000 base pairs. Arabidopsis , includes an estimated 25,498 genes, with an average gene length around 2,

Contact: Lisa Onaga
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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