Crop Biotech Update

Web Portal Established to Speed up Genetic Research in Plants

July 26, 2017

Scientists from University of California, Davis and partners successfully completed the first whole-genome sequence of fast-neutron-induced mutations of a model variety of rice known as Kitaake which has a short life cycle of just nine weeks. This collection will help speed up genetic research in rice and other monocots that can be used as biofuels. A web portal called KitBase was launched to allow other researchers to get information related to the mutant collection, such as sequence, mutation, and phenotypic data for each rice line.

According to Guotian Li from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the fast-neutron irradiation causes various forms of mutations that lead to different alleles of genes, which is not achieavable from other techniques. The team used just 50 plants to get the mutant collection using the technique. If they used the conventional approach, they would have needed over 16,000 plants. They were able to identify a total of 91,513 mutations which affected 32,307 genes or 58% of all genes in the rice genome. The paper is published in The Plant Cell.

"This comparison clearly demonstrates the power of the sequenced mutant population for rapid genetic analysis," said Pamela Ronald from UC Davis, who is the principal author of the paper.

Access the web portal KitBase for more information.