Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MSU researchers shake out basis for rice domestication

31.03.2006
Michigan State University scientists have identified the genetic mutation that reduces grain shattering during rice domestication research that will improve production of the crop that feeds more than half of the world’s population.

In an article on the cover of the March 31 edition of Science Magazine, MSU scientists, led by Tao Sang, associate professor of plant biology, identify for the first time the genetic mutation for the reduction of shattering, a key step in the domestication of all cereal crops including corn and wheat.

The researchers were able to pinpoint and confirm that a single base pair mutation in DNA causing an amino acid change in a protein led to non-shattering rice varieties. This slight change in DNA prevented mature rice grains from easily falling from stalks to allow a more effective field harvest. In essence, humans several thousand years ago unknowingly practiced de facto gene selection by planting varieties with this trait.

Shattering in cereal crops refers to grains easily falling off of plants. The shattering trait of the wild forerunners of rice and cereals prevents effective field harvest and is undesirable for cultivation.

"What we can learn from historical plant domestication will benefit our ongoing and future effort to domesticate energy crops that will be equally important to the long-term sustainability of our society," Sang said. "It is remarkable how the earliest farmers could have selected a single mutation in DNA to develop a major food crop of the world."

The researchers first determined which chromosomal regions contained the mutations selected for rice domestication. Chromosome 4 was pegged as being responsible primarily for the reduction of shattering.

"Several hundred hours were spent in the greenhouses where we had to shake the plants and record the various degrees of shattering," Sang said. "Even with all the advances in technology, a careful firsthand observation proves to be essential for biological research."

The researchers then developed a new method for rapid and cost-effective DNA isolation to clone a gene from the chromosomal region. Changbao Li, research associate in plant biology, invented a process that increased the speed of DNA isolation and allowed researchers to efficiently complete the screening of 12,000 seedlings.

"This technical innovation will greatly speed up genetic research for plants since it saved us time and money, yet delivered accurate results," Sang said.

"By tracing the breeding of rice and identifying the genetic mutations, the researchers have opened new doors to the science community that benefit the world through a more effective use of the land and water used to grow rice," said Rich Triemer, chairperson of the Department of Plant Biology.

"These findings will improve yields to a crop that is the staple food for more than half of the world’s population. Our scientists are continuing the legacy started by William Beal more than one hundred years ago of using plant research to benefit the world," he said.

The article, "Rice Domestication by Reducing Shattering," was published today in Science Express an electronic publication designed to get important papers quickly in front of the scientific community prior to being published in Science. Science is the world’s leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary and is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Tao Sang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level

20.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Relax, just break it

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>