Crop Biotech Update

NSF Funds Rice Project of UA-Led Group

September 3, 2010

The National Science Foundation has awarded US$9.9 M to a University of Arizona (UA)-led consortium to study the genes of different wild rice species and identify genes that could be used to improve the crop.

"Half of the world's population depends on rice, and that population is expected to double in 30 years," UA plant scientist Rod Wing said. "We need to figure out a way to come up with a rice variety with increased yield and capable of growing on less land, on poorer soil, with less water, and with less fertilizer."

The research is part of RICE 2020, an international coordinated effort in rice functional genomics. NSF funds efforts at functionally characterizing the genomes of all 24 rice species. Wing's group led an effort to determine the entire genetic sequence of the two rice species most widely used in agriculture, Asian Rice (O. sativa) and West African Rice (O. glaberrima).

The UA press release is at http://www.uanews.org/node/33856