Honda Research Institute, a research house set up by the automotive giant to explore emerging technologies, and Nagoya University have isolated a gene in rice that could make it easier to grow generations of the plant more rapidly.
Many agricultural plants can be produced through cuttings from other plants. With rice, the process doesn't work that well, particularly with the Koshihikari strain popular with consumers.
The gene, from named "PSR1", produces an enzyme which affects the metabolic pathway of nitrogen, an essential source of nutrition for plants. The research revealed that lower activity of the PSR1 gene in Koshihikari results in low regeneration ability. Thus, increasing activity could boost the ability to regenerate the plants. Work now will revolve around creating a high yield strain of Koshihikari.