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Article Released Sun-18th-December-2005 21:38 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Stand up for bigger rice harvests!

Japanese researchers have found that a rice plant that grows with its shoots more erect will produce more grains than normal.


For papers that will be published online on 18 December 2005

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* Stand up for bigger rice harvests! - Nature Biotechnology

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*****************************NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY*************************

[7] Stand up for bigger rice harvests!

DOI: 10.1038/nbt1173

Japanese researchers have found that a rice plant that grows with its shoots
more erect will produce more grains than normal. The rice, which was
produced by a non-transgenic approach, is reported in January's Nature
Biotechnology and promises to enable the creation of rice varieties that are
more productive under dense planting conditions.
Tomoaki Sakamoto and colleagues identified the erect rice by screening a
population of plants in which different rice genes had been randomly knocked
out. The erect rice contains a mutation in a gene that produces a type of
plant steroid involved in growth. Although it was long suspected that more
erect leaves might enable plant parts closer to the soil to capture more
light and thus promote growth, previous attempts at knocking out genes to
accomplish this only stunted growth and produced smaller, misshapen grains.
Luckily, loss of the newly identified gene has no apparent negative effects,
and the leaves that are more upright accumulate more nutrients that can be
directed to making grains. Improvements in yield even in the absence of
extra fertilizer suggest that this approach might circumvent the harmful
environmental effects of chemical fertilizers.

Author contact:
Tomoaki Sakamoto (The University of Tokyo, Japan)
Tel: +81 424 63 1611, E-mail:

Additional contact for comment on paper:
Kenneth A. Feldmann (Ceres Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, USA)
Tel: +1 310 317 8932, E-mail:

Other papers from Nature Biotechnology to be published online at the same
time and with the same embargo:

[8] Engineering and characterization of a superfolder green fluorescent
DOI: 10.1038/nbt1172

[9] A genetically encoded photosensitizer
DOI: 10.1038/nbt1175

[10] Extracellular accumulation of recombinant proteins fused to the carrier
protein YebF in Escherichia coli
DOI: 10.1038/nbt1174


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