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Chinese researchers discover gene variation can increase grain yield | Updated: 2017-10-31 14:55

A group of Chinese researchers discovered recently a certain rice gene can vary in nature that remarkably increases grain yield by 15 percent.

The findings were published on Nature Plants, an online journal of the Nature series, on Tuesday by a research team led by professor Xing Yongzhong of the College of Life Science and Technology in Huazhong Agricultural University.

Over half of the world's population relies on rice as its staple food. Increasing grain yield has been a life-long aspiration for many agricultural scientists.

Xing said the production of the rice has a close relation with the rice development genes, called frizzy panicle (FZP), which is one of the crucial development genes that cannot be changed but can be controlled in volume.

According to Xing, with a high volume of expression of FZP, the grain grows bigger but the number of grains decrease, while low volume of expression of FZP will lead smaller grain and higher number of grains.

The most effective way to increase the production of the rice is to increase the number of grain per ear though ear number and thousand seed weight are the other two factors to affect the rice production per acre.

"How to balance those factors to maximum the rice production is what we need to figure out next," said Xing.

Xing also said the genetic variation happens in nature that can be used in breed improvement among high-yield variety in China. Related improvement on rice has been under going already.

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