Scientists unlock mystery of aromatic rice

March 25, 2008

A researcher has found a way to preserve the aroma of jasmine rice and add the aroma to other rice varieties, the Bangkok Post reported.

The newspaper reported that the find was aided by earlier research that deciphered the generic code of jasmine rice.

Apichart Vanavichit, the director of the Rice Gene Discovery and Rice Science Center, cracked the code.

"There is something very interesting about rice," said he said. "The species has plenty of varieties, but it mutates in a certain way that allows us to study some traits, including the aroma."

Scientists found that the genes responsible for the aroma were located in chromosome 8 of aromatic rice. In experiments, researchers inserted the aroma gene into non-aromatic Japanese Nipponbare rice.

The result was an aromatic rice, the newspaper said.

"We have the potential to lead in the field of rice development, but we still lack a lot of necessary resources," Apichart said of Thai rice farmers.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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