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Gene discovery may mean more, better rice
by Staff Writers
Beijing (UPI) Jun 25, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Chinese researchers say they've identified a key gene in rice that could enhance both quality and productivity of the crop at the same time.

Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers found a gene dubbed GW8 while studying Basmati rice from Pakistan, highly regarded for its quality.

The gene could improve the shape and color of rice grains, enhancing its appearance, but could also change the arrangement of starch inside the grain, enhancing its quality for eating, researcher Fu Xiangdong told China's state-run Xinhua News Agency Monday.

A different variant of the GW8 gene exists in some types of high yield rice grown in China, but its major effect is not on quality but on grain weight, enhancing productivity.

Researches then identified a third variant of the gene.

"We found another variant of GW8, which could combine the advantages of those two variants that respectively influences quality and productivity," Fu said.

If introduced into the Basmati rice, it could increase its productivity by 14 percent while the quality remains the same, or if introduced into the Chinese high-yield rice it could significantly enhance the quality of rice grains but keep productivity the same, the researchers said.

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