Asian Institutions Release Genomes of 3000 Rice Lines

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The first rice genomes were sequenced in the mid-2000s, but this advancement in understanding rice genetics had limited impact in improving rice strains. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) “A single genome does not reveal the large store of genetic diversity in rice,” says Leung, who notes that many important genes are not present in the previously sequenced rice lines. “Many useful genes are carried in traditional [rice] landraces; without sequence information it is difficult to use such treasure,” he says.The sequencing of 3000 rice lines acquired from 89 countries has confirmed that there are five broad varietal groups. More importantly, the effort identified approximately 18.9 million single nucleotide polymorphisms, or minor genetic differences, that might represent important traits. Leung says the next step is to connect the genetic sequence information to specific phenotypical traits.  The sequencing effort was a collaboration among IRRI; BGI in Shenzhen, China; and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology funded the project.The report on the sequences and a commentary by officials from the three institutions appear online today in GigaScience. The entire data set is available at the journal’s affiliated database, GigaDB. Seeds of all of the rice lines are held by the International Rice Genebank Collection housed at IRRI.

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