Rice work if you can get it

The International Rice Genome Sequencing Project (IRGSP) team has published the complete DNA blueprint for rice - a crop that feeds more than half the world's population. The researchers report the finished rice genome in the August 11 issue of the Nature, and explain how their work reveals the location and sequence of over 37500 protein-encoding genes among the 389 million bases of the species' DNA. The IRGSP studied the japonica sub-species of rice, a strain that is cultivated in the USA, Japan, and Korea. This genome makes it the first crop plant to be sequenced completely and has important implications for combating diseases and pests affecting the crop.