Scientists discover wonder rice gene to increase yield: Institute
MANILA (AFP) - Scientists have discovered a wonder rice gene that could dramatically increase yields of one of the world's most important food crops, the International Rice Research Institute (Irri) said on Tuesday.
Preliminary tests show that yields of modern long-grain "indica" rice varieties, the world's most widely grown types of rice, can rise by 13-36 per cent when infused with the so-called Spike gene, the Philippines-based institute said.
"Our work showed that Spike is indeed one of the major genes responsible for the yield increase that breeders have spent so many years searching for," Irri genetic transformation laboratory chief Inez Slamet-Loedin said in a statement.
Testing of new rice varieties infused with the gene is under way across several developing countries in Asia, said rice breeder Tsutomu Ishimaru, head of the Irri-led Spike breeding programme.