Making long, thin rice grains.

Long, shiny rice grains are considered to be a measure of rice quality in many parts of the world. Like most qualities of any living being, the length of the rice grain also is encoded by genes. Research group in China have narrowed down to a single gene responsible for the grain length (Wang et al., 2015). The gene, Os07g0603300, is present on Chromosome 7 of rice (Oriza sativa L.) genome. When the gene was duplicated in tandem i.e if two copies of the genes were present back to back, the length of the grains increased. Best part of the exercise was that there was no decrease in the yield of this rice plant. After breeding this rice line with other varieties of rice can further increase the grain quality.
Problem remains however of the acceptance of this GM variety. Humans have been changing the genetic compositions of plants/animals since we started domestication them by breeding them. Genetic engineering is just a targeted breeding. Hope someday people would understand.

Wang, Xudong, Z., Jiayang, L., Qian Qian, Y.W., Guosheng, X., Jiang, H., Liang, J., Hong, Y., Jie, X., Yunxia, F., et al. (2015). Copy number variation at the GL7 locus contributes to grain size diversity in rice. Nature Genetics.

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