Rice becomes the first crop to have its genes mapped

Posted August 12, 2005: Scientists have completed a seven year project by successfully mapping the entire rice genome. The new map, the first of its kind for a crop, opens rice up to many genetic manipulations both by making conventional breeding programs more efficient and by actually modifying the original gene make-up. One of these suggested modifications is to graft in a daffodil gene making the traditionally deficient staple into a source of vitamin A. It is generally agreed these types of modification are still years in the future. More immediate will be strains that survive drought conditions or cold temperatures. A staple of the developing world rice is considered, perhaps, the most important factor in tackling world hunger.

A paper reporting details and analysis of the project was published yesterday in Nature. For more information go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/10/AR2005081001054.html?referrer=email&referrer=email