Crop Biotech Update

Genomes of Basmati Rice Sequenced

February 12, 2020

Researchers at New York University Center for Genomics and Systems Biology have sequenced the genomes of two basmati rice varieties. The researchers focused on two basmati rice varieties: Basmati 334 from Pakistan, known to be drought tolerant and resistant to bacterial blight, and Dom Sufid from Iran, an aromatic long-grain rice that is one of the most expensive on the market.

Basmati is an aromatic long-grain rice grown in southern Asia. Despite its economic and cultural importance, their evolutionary history is not fully understood. Using nanopore sequencing technology, the researchers confirmed that basmati rice is a hybrid of two other rice groups. Sequencing revealed that most genetic material in basmati comes from japonica (a rice group found in East Asia), followed by the rice group aus (found in Bangladesh).

The researchers now aim to work with breeding groups to identify important genes, see what makes basmati rice unique, and even develop molecular markers to help breed new varieties. "By having the sequence of rice varieties like Basmati 334, which can withstand drought conditions and resist bacterial blight, we can start to identify genes that give rise to these valuable traits," said Michael Purugganan, the Silver Professor of Biology at NYU and the study's senior author.

For more details, read the NYU news release or the paper in Genome Biology.

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