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

I>indica genome by directly comparing the rice sequences to known gene sequences deposited in public databases, and from gene-prediction software programs. They also used software programs to classify the rice genes by general functional categories, such as metabolism, cellular communication, and cell growth regulation.


To confirm accuracy, Yus group gathered all publicly available rice gene sequences and rice gene markers, and searched for those sequences within the indica draft. Their findings suggest that the indica genome draft covers 92 percent of the whole rice genome.

In a second stage of research, the team will produce a more detailed sequence, to be integrated with physical and genetic maps of the rice genome. The more detailed sequence should reveal any gaps in the current draft that may contain genes, and place all the genes into functional categories.


Yus comparison of the indica and Arabidopsis genomes revealed some similarities between the two plant genomes, compared to the human genome (such as gene duplication). But, the analysis also revealed interesting differences between these two plants, representing the two major types of seed-bearing plants, monocots and dicots. In the most striking comparison, 80.6 percent of Arabidopsis genes are found in rice, but only 49.4 percent of the indica genes are found in Arabidopsis .

This asymmetry could suggest that the rice genome is a "superset" of the Arabidopsis genome, the result of a massive gene duplication event, and may shed light on how monocots and dicots evolved and diverged some 200 million years ago.



The japonica draft sequence, produced by Stephen A. Goff and colleagues, contains 389 of their estimate of 420 million base pairs for the rice genome. Software predicti

Contact: Lisa Onaga
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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