December, 2008

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Applied Technology

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New Gene Baton to Increase Rice Yield

The Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences, CAS recently made a new breakthrough in the research on rice functional gene. Two pieces of ¡°genetic baton¡± with home grown intellectual property rights were found successively, which can domesticate ¡°thin and weak¡± rice and increase grain yield. Two articles about the important functional gene of rice and its domestication were published on-line in Nature Genetics.

Thanks to many years¡¯ research efforts, the Research Group led by Research Fellow Lin Hongxuan successfully cloned the gene PROG1 from ¡°Hainan common wild rice¡±. The gene PROG1 plays an important role in controlling the domestication of rice plant. The results of experiments showed that this gene encodes a zinc-finger protein, the function of which is still unknown. As a transcription factor new gene, it plays an important role in regulating the development of rice plant architecture. Between Hainan wild rice and cultivated rice, there is a base variation in the coding region of this gene which causes an amino acid substitution. The researchers suggest that artificial selection of the amino acid substitution during domestication facilitated the transition from unfavorable plant architecture of wild rice (prostrate growth and too many tillers) to ideal plant architecture of cultivated rice (erect growth and appropriate number of tillers). This suggestion was verified in transgenic rice. This result of research expounded the molecular genetic mechanism of rice domestication for the first time and provided important molecular evidence for artificial selection of rice domestication. It also provided valuable new clues for research on molecular genetic regulation mechanism of the development of crop plant type and molecular breeding of high-yield plant type.

Anti-Virals Symposium Focused on Policy

On Nov. 1, the 7th International Symposium on Anti-Virals co-sponsored by the International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV) and the Institute of Microbiology, CAS was inaugurated in Beijing. The theme of this conference is ¡°Challenging Pandemics: Science, Policy, Preparedness¡±. Michel Chretien, founder of ICAV, Jeremy Carver, President of ICAV and Gao Fu, Research Fellow of the Institute of Microbiology CAS co-chaired this conference. The day before inauguration of the conference, Chen Zhu, Minister of Public Health, met with all participants who attended the conference. He expressed to the Chinese and foreign experts that the Chinese Government would like to listen to all suggestions and proposals on an extensive basis, which would be a great help for decision-making.


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