The genomes of seven wild rice varieties have been completed, according to
the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Published in Nature
Genetics, the study details the generation of seven wild and two cultivated
genomes (IR8 and N22). IR8, more popularly known as "miracle rice," was
developed by IRRI scientists and was one of the rice varieties that ushered
in the Green Revolution in Asia during the 1960s and relieved worldwide
"The completed sequencing of the seven wild rice varieties is a significant
progress to drive further genome evolution and domestication," explained Dr.
Rod Wing, one of the lead scientists in the study. He added that wild
relatives of rice continue to be an important reservoir for crop improvement
as they are adapted to different biogeographic ranges and can tolerate many
biotic and abiotic stresses.
Dr. Ruaraidh Hamilton, IRRI lead scientist for genetic diversity and head of
IRRI Genebank welcomes this breakthrough. "This opens doors for rice
breeders to harness genes from the wild relatives of rice, allowing us to
improve crops with traits that are preferred by farmers and consumers. It
will also bring us steps closer to our goal of ensuring global food and
nutrition security through sustainable rice production," he said.