Crop Biotech Update

Study Pinpoints Gene Vital for Rice Grain Development

February 9, 2022

Hiroshima University researchers reported a gene in rice that is vital in the development of grains. Their findings are published in Development.

In thale cress, the WUS gene has been found to be necessary for the maintenance of stem cells during the early stages of flower development, particularly when the pistil and stamens are formed. The researchers found a similar gene in rice called TAB1. Rice plants without this gene lacked any fertile grains. Further analysis of the mutant plants also showed stem cells were present during the early stages of the formation of floral organs but eventually disappeared by the time the ovules were developed.

"This result indicates that the TAB1 gene is required for the robust maintenance of stem cells until the last stage of flower developmentā€¦Collectively, the TAB1 gene plays an important role in maintaining stem cells during ovule formation, eventually leading to the formation of seeds. This direct necessity of stem cell activity in ovule formation is not seen in thale cress, so it seems to be unique to rice," said Wakana Tanaka, assistant professor at the Program of Food and AgriLife Science, Hiroshima University's Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life.

Read the findings from Hiroshima University and Development.

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