Scientists from University of California, Davis and partners successfully
completed the first whole-genome sequence of fast-neutron-induced mutations
of a model variety of rice known as Kitaake which has a short life cycle of
just nine weeks. This collection will help speed up genetic research in rice
and other monocots that can be used as biofuels. A web portal called KitBase
was launched to allow other researchers to get information related to the
mutant collection, such as sequence, mutation, and phenotypic data for each
According to Guotian Li from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the
fast-neutron irradiation causes various forms of mutations that lead to
different alleles of genes, which is not achieavable from other techniques.
The team used just 50 plants to get the mutant collection using the
technique. If they used the conventional approach, they would have needed
over 16,000 plants. They were able to identify a total of 91,513 mutations
which affected 32,307 genes or 58% of all genes in the rice genome. The
paper is published in The Plant Cell.
"This comparison clearly demonstrates the power of the sequenced mutant
population for rapid genetic analysis," said Pamela Ronald from UC Davis,
who is the principal author of the paper.