When tested in iodine, grains of non-glutinous rice turn black (left), while glutinous rice remains unstained.
A study by two North Carolina State University geneticists traces the origin and evolution of a genetic mutation that long ago led to the creation of a type of rice known as glutinous, or "sticky," rice.
The molecular genetic research leads researchers to believe that glutinous rice - which differs from non-glutinous, or common, rice on account of a mutation in its Waxy gene that suppresses the formation of a starch called amylose - most likely originated a single time in Southeast Asia. Further, DNA evidence - namely the lower-than-expected genetic variability in the Waxy gene - suggests that early domesticators of glutinous rice liked its adhesive quality and wanted to preserve that particular trait.
Dr. Michael Purugganan, associate professor of genetics, and Dr. Kenneth Olsen, post-doctoral research associate in genetics, publish their findings in the Oct. 23 edition of Genetics.
Dr. Michael Purugganan | North Carolina State University
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