by Staff Writers
Kobe, Japan (UPI) Jun 6, 2011
Farmers in China 10,000 years ago were early pioneers of genetic breeding, developing practices still used today to boost agricultural yields, researchers say.
Masanori Yamasaki of Kobe University in Japan says those Chinese farmers, like modern breeders, came to realize shorter plants would produce higher yields, as the stalkier plants could produce more grain without falling over, NewScientist.com reported Monday.
So they unwittingly began selective breeding that resulted in a genetic shrinking of rice stems, he says.
Yamasaki looked at sticky rice, Oryza sativa japonica, and found found two mutations in the variety's SD1 gene that did not exist in a wild variety or in long-grain rice.
That suggests a strong effort to conserve and encourage the variety 10,000 years ago, when both sticky and long-grain rice were being domesticated, he says.
Yamasaki says he thinks farmers growing the first sticky rice drove this change to get a better harvest and in doing so kicked off an early "green revolution" mirrored in modern efforts last century to select for the SD1 gene to boost yields and feed a burgeoning global population.
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Dubai looks to bag top spot as tea goes green
Dubai (AFP) June 7, 2011
Exotic and organic teas are wooing tea drinkers and challenging traditional black tea's dominance as never before, tea industry experts say, as a tea factory in Dubai bids to become the world's largest. The shift in global tea-drinking trends is felt at the Jebel Ali Free Zone, despite it being more than 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from the nearest tea bushes in the lush misty mountains o ... read more
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