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B. The Importance of Sequencing the Rice Genome

Narrator: This is Science Today. Two sequences of the rice genome have been completed - giving researchers important basic information about rice genetics. Pamela Ronald, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Davis, says such information will provide a better understanding of the genes that may have important functions in a staple crop that feeds almost half the world population.

Ronald: For example, uptake of nutrients from the soil or disease resistance. So we have a very carefully sequenced genome that will continue to be useful and then for my studies, the sequences are already very useful because what we do in my lab is try to understand the basis of rice plants to resistance to diverse diseases and usually what this involves is recognition of the pathogen - and then activation of a particular set of proteins.

Narrator: This would eventually lead to molecules that restrict spread of the pathogen.

Ronald: So virtually every rice researcher will benefit from the rice sequence information.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.