October 17

Huge Genetic Value Shown in Australian Wild Rice

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Huge Genetic Value Shown in Australian Wild Rice


A recent study has indicated that Australian wild rice varies significantly in its genetic sequencing from the domesticated varieties used relatively nearby in Asia.

This is hugely important because modern cultivated rice has undergone millennia of human intervention and selection. Whilst that may have been inevitable and even desirable in certain past epochs, today there is an increasing demand for new food production strategies to cope with the population explosion taking place across the planet.

What this means is that scientists are delighted to find these genetic variations because it will allow them to tap into a new repository of potential gene options in order to improve things like the yield and resilience of existing cultivated rice varieties.

This is an important development because whilst the use of DNA science for things such as product branding and criminology is now well known and established, it has an arguably even greater potential role in health and also in helping humanity to better utilise sustainable food production techniques around the globe.

Reports conclude that even in Australia there was apparently some long-distant large-scale natural selection event that affected the genetic diversity of wild rice but this does not appear to be attributable to human intervention. It may be unlikely that the exact nature of that event will ever be clearly and unambiguously revealed but it is interesting to speculate as to the cause and when it exactly took place.

Discoveries like this continued to excite scientists and it seems rare for more than a few weeks to pass without some other new major discovery in DNA or more closely related areas.

Of course, the genetic manipulation of crops continues to be highly controversial and there will no doubt be widespread public reservation about all activities in this domain.

Nevertheless, it appears to be an area of huge expansion for the future.

*Source and copyright – http://ausfoodnews.com.au/2014/06/10/ancient-dna-in-australian-wild-rice-may-play-crucial-role-in-global-food-security.html


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