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What plant genes tell us about crop domestication
Date:7/7/2010

and amylopectin is branchy; because it is branchy, the rice starch sticks to itself when it is cooked."

"In certain areas of the world, particularly Southeast Asia, people favored varieties of rice that were sticky," Olsen says. "By selecting sticky rice, they were actually selecting rice that had a mutation in a gene called Waxy. The gene mutation prevented the plant from making a protein responsible for a key step in producing amylose. When amylose was absent, the grains were filled with the stickier starch amylopectin."

The fragrance of cooking basmati or jasmine rice is another example of an improvement. What you smell when the steam wafts above the rice cooker is an aromatic compound called 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (or 2AP), which is also an important note in the aroma cooked popcorn, bread crust, crabmeat -- and screwpine leaves. Screwpine leaves are aromatic leaves used to flavor rice dishes and sweets in India and southeast Asia.

The rice BADH2 gene underlies variation in the production of 2AP and a survey of this gene in aromatic rices around the world has shown that although one gene variant (or allele) is by far the most common, the aroma can be generated by a variety of mutations of the BADH2 gene.


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Contact: Diana Lutz
dlutz@wustl.edu
314-935-5272
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert  

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