Scientists crack genetic code of rice

Known by many people as the quintessential part of "a San Francisco treat," rice has become the first plant crop to be genetically sequenced by scientists, according to a report released in Nature journal this week.

An international team of scientists, led by Japanese researchers, has identified nearly all of the 389 million chemical building blocks of the rice plant's DNA. Within those millions of building blocks, certain sequences form genes, much like letters spelling words, according to an SF Gate article.

Out of all those sequences, scientists estimated that rice contains 37,544 genes, but the number could be higher after further research. Human DNA comprises 20,000 to 25,000 genes.

The scientists, part of the 7-year-old International Rice Genome Sequencing Project, believe the development will help rice producers to yield more crop or improve its nutritional content. After all, rice, not Rice-A-Roni, feeds almost half of the world's population.

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