African rice genome decoded

The genetic information allows creating varieties more resistant to environmental challenges and having higher yields to fight global food challenge

By Aditya Misra
Published: Wednesday 30 July 2014

Source: Wikipedia

The genome sequence of African rice has been decoded. This genetic information is important because it would allow scientists to cross African rice with Asian rice and create new varieties with the best qualities of both of the crops.

African rice(Oryza glaberrima) is cultivated only at a few locations in the world, but it is more resistant to environmental stress in West African environment than Asian varieties, said Rod A Wing, lead author of the paper, according to a report published in the website of the University of Arizona.

African rice is known to be resistance to drought, high salinity of soil and floods.  On the other hand, its yield is not as high as that of Asian rice. The qualities of both these crops can now be combined into a single variety to help solve global food challenge, says the report, quoting Wing: “Rice feeds half the world, making it the most important food crop.”

The paper was published online in Nature Genetics on July 27. 
In another news, the genome of Solanum pennellii, a wild tomato variety, has been sequenced.  Wild tomato is not edible but can be crossed with domestic tomato to yield a variety which is drought resistant and is tastier.

The paper on the sequencing of wild tomato genome was also published in Nature Genetics on July 27.

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