Biologists Develop Large Gene Dataset for Rice Plant

Mar 13, 2007
Biologists Develop Large Gene Dataset for Rice Plant
Plant biologists have reported a new understanding of how genes work in rice. Credit: Fangming Xie, IRRI

Scientists have reported development of a large dataset of gene sequences in rice. The information will lead to an increased understanding of how genes work in rice, an essential food for much of the world's population.

Plant biologist Blake Meyers at the University of Delaware and colleagues report their results in the March 11 on-line issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Using advanced gene sequencing technologies and high-powered computer-based approaches, Meyers and colleagues examined both normal gene expression (via messenger ribonucleic acids, or mRNAs) as well as small ribonucleic acids (small RNAs) in rice.

The analysis of rice was based on gene sequences representing nearly 47 million mRNA molecules and three million small RNAs, a larger dataset than has been reported for any other plant species.

Small RNAs are considered one of most important discoveries in biotechnology in the last 10 years. Because they are so much smaller than mRNAs, small RNAs went unnoticed for many years, or were considered biologically unimportant, said Meyers.

Small RNAs are now known to play an important role in gene regulation, he said, adding that deficiencies in small RNA production can have a profound effect on development.

"Small RNAs also have been associated with other important biological processes, such as responses to stress," Meyers said. "Many of small RNAs in rice have related sequences in the many important cereal crop plants, including maize and wheat."

Research on small RNAs "is a leading edge in plant biotechnology," said Machi Dilworth, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Biological Infrastructure, which along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, funded the research. "This work will contribute to an understanding of the role of small RNAs in gene expression not only in rice, but in all plants."

Source: NSF

Explore further: Researchers collect soil samples from around the globe in effort to conduct fungi survey

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Science casts light on sex in the orchard

Oct 30, 2014

Persimmons are among the small club of plants with separate sexes—individual trees are either male or female. Now scientists at the University of California, Davis, and Kyoto University in Japan have discovered ...

Researchers look at small RNA pathways in maize tassels

Aug 22, 2014

Researchers at the University of Delaware and other institutions across the country have been awarded a four-year, $6.5 million National Science Foundation grant to analyze developmental events in maize anthers ...

Developing sustainable biofuels

May 01, 2014

Biofuels have been heralded as having the potential to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, by powering cars and generators with energy from plant biomass.

Going deep to improve maize transcriptome

Apr 29, 2014

A team of researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), the University of California, Berkeley, and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center generated an ultra-deep, high ...

Recommended for you

Parasitic worm genomes: largest-ever dataset released

7 hours ago

The largest collection of helminth genomic data ever assembled has been published in the new, open-access WormBase-ParaSite. Developed jointly by EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, this new ...

Male sex organ distinguishes 30 millipede species

7 hours ago

The unique shapes of male sex organs have helped describe thirty new millipede species from the Great Western Woodlands in the Goldfields, the largest area of relatively undisturbed Mediterranean climate ...

How can we avoid kelp beds turning into barren grounds?

11 hours ago

Urchins are marine invertebrates that mould the biological richness of marine grounds. However, an excessive proliferation of urchins may also have severe ecological consequences on marine grounds as they ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.