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

000 base pairs.

Differences in gene length may signal different mechanisms for generating protein diversity: The indica genome (like the Arabidopsis genome) shows signs of extensive gene duplication, with more than 70% of the genes duplicated.

Duplication of smaller genes may produce the protein diversity needed for adaptive evolution in plants, Yus team suggests. Vertebrate animals, like humans, may generate diverse proteins through processes such as gene splicing that break up and reassemble relatively larger genes into new combinations.

Some 1.7 percent of the indica genome consists of simple sequence repeats, and complex sequence repeats make up another one percent. Simple repeats involve just a few base pairs, and can be useful "markers," or points of reference along the genome.

Complex repeats, or "transposable elements," are DNA sequences that hop around the genome. While most transposons in the human genome are found within the introns, or non-coding portion of genes, most transposons in the two plant genomes are located between genes, researchers noted.


To sequence the indica genome, Yu and colleagues used the same "whole genome shotgun method," previously used to sequence the fruit fly genome, and by private researchers sequencing the human genome.

Yus team generated many DNA snippets of known length from all over the rice genome. The amount of snippets, lined up according to the regions where their DNA sequences overlapped, was enough to cover the genome roughly four times. The researchers then determined the base pair sequence for each snippet, and used a computer program to assemble them into longer segments. These segments (called "contigs," since they refer to genomic regions where contiguous DNA sequences overlap) were then ordered and assembled into 103,044 larger components called "scaffolds."

The researchers searched for genes within the <

Contact: Lisa Onaga
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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