|Rice Genetics - project page|
Geneticists assist breeders by tracking genes - learning what rice germplasm from around the world contains the desired genes, and learning where the genes are in the genome. Similar to predicting a wild animal's location by tracking its food sources and footprints, geneticists find genes by observing their interaction with and impact on the DNA around them. An example of this work is identification of traits and genes that improve seedling vigor. Breeders can then use molecular markers linked to desired genes to combine them in improved rice varieties.
Increasing Mesocotyl Length Enhances Seedling Vigor
Rice with long mesocotyls emerges faster and produce tillers sooner. Standard U.S. semidwarf rices have short mesocotyls, low tiller numbers, and low seedling vigor. (Click here for more information.)
Identifying New Genes for Nutritional Quality
Work has been done with the USDA Core Germplasm Collection comprising 1800 rice lines originating from around the world. This set of lines is proving to be highly useful in identifying new genes for important traits, such as nutritional quality. Rice cultivars have been identified that are more nutritious because they are high in nutrients like calcium, zinc, and iron. (Click here for more information.)