There are three steps involved: Rice farming was made feasible by genetic mutations.

There are three steps involved: Rice farming was made feasible by genetic mutations.

There are three steps involved: Rice farming was made feasible by genetic mutations.

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ISRDO Team 07 Jul, 2022 - in Evolution and Genetics
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  • seeds rice
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  • rice production
  • yield rice

As a traditional cuisine in Japan and other Asian countries, rice has a long history of use. Three gene alterations that make the seeds (i.e. rice grains) less likely to fall off the plant, according to the findings of a recent study by an international research cooperation, may be responsible for the development of cultivated rice from wild rice plants.

Three mutations, when combined, result in a higher yield of rice.

When our forefathers discovered and began cultivating rice plants that do not readily shed their seeds, they paved the road for long-term rice production stability. Future advances in rice seed fall (i.e. making the crop simpler to thresh) and creation of high-yield rice cultivars where every grain may be gathered, decreasing wastage, are anticipated to arise from these study findings.

To make this discovery, a team of researchers from universities around the world worked together, including those from the Graduate School of Agriculture at Kobe University, Japan's National Institute of Genetics, the Universities of London, Warwick, and Yezin in Myanmar, as well as researchers from CAREDIA in Cambodia.

PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) released these results on the 23rd of June in an online journal (JST).

Highlights

  • Rice seeds fall to the ground if the qSH3 gene is mutated, according to researchers (referred to as seed shattering).
  • qSH3 has a single nucleotide alteration, which is the cause of the mutation (YABBY). The majority of cultivars of the world's most extensively cultivated rice species have this mutation (indica and japonica).
  • Plants bearing just the qSH3 gene mutation naturally shed their seeds, according to the researchers. However, the abscission layer (which is essential for seed breaking) was partly blocked when the qSH3 mutation was paired with the previously described sh4 gene mutation.
  • Despite the qSH3 and sh4 mutation-mediated partial suppression of the abscission layer, the inclusion of a mutation at SPR3 that induces closed panicle formation resulted in the majority of seeds staying on the plant, thereby improving crop production.
  • The link between panicle opening and closure and abscission layer inhibition was studied using structural mechanics. As a consequence of these findings, shattering and seed attachment remained stable with all three mutations present.
  • Because of the aesthetic qualities (such as closed panicles) of certain rice plants, our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have started cultivating them, opening the way for rice to become one of the world's most important crops.

The Background of the Study

In the United States, Asian rice is known to as Oryza Sativa, which is extensively farmed and eaten. The wild rice weed Oryza rufipogon is believed to have been the source of the plant. Ancient hunter-gatherers are said to have started cultivating rice by selecting individual wild rice plants with the right qualities. It is possible for wild rice plants to effectively spread their seeds via a process known as seed cracking. Although this seed breaking must be avoided when farming rice, it must be controlled in order to provide a steady harvest There was speculation in 2006 that a mutation in the sh4 gene, which is required for the beginning of seed breaking in plants such as rice, allowed rice to be cultivated. Researchers now believe that the sh4 mutation alone is not sufficient to prevent seed shattering loss, and this suggests that other gene alterations are also at play. This research brings together experts in plant genetics, archaeobotany, and structural mechanics to examine how rice was first grown and how yields increased through time.

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