Two groups of researchers sequenced the genomes of related subspecies of rice. Rice is a food staple for over three billion people. It provides 20 percent of the world's dietary energy supply, while wheat supplies 19 percent and maize 5 percent. Scientists are using the data to create improved varieties of rice that grow in different environments and have desirable traits such as pest resistance and increased nutritional value. Advances made with rice also may be applied to other important crop species such as wheat and corn. Initially, it was estimated that rice had between 43,000 and 63,000 genes. The estimates were later lowered to about 38,000 genes.
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Yu, J., et al. A draft sequence of the rice genome. Science, 296: 79-92. 2002. [PubMed]
Last Reviewed: August 15, 2013