Farmers genetically bred rice 10,000 years ago

Published on June 8th, 2011 | by Admin

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rice

A genetic study of rice has revealed that 10,000 years ago farmers in China were selectively breeding the staple.

Chinese rice farmers 10,000 years ago were early pioneers of modern genetic breeding. Like modern breeders they seemed to realise that shorter plants would produce higher yields, and unwittingly selected for mutations in a gene that shrinks rice stems: the stalkier plants produce more grain without falling over.

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Story: Michael Marshall, NewScientist | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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