China Makes Breakthrough in Rice Gene Chip

Researchers in eastern China have made a breakthrough in the development of a rice gene chip and registered 48 gene patents.

According to scientists with the Bio-technology Institute of Zhejiang University, they have completed the separation, sequencing and analysis of over 36,000 rice genes and released in a globally recognized gene bank 20,381 express sequence tags (EST) useful in the study of gene functions, about 19.5 percent of the bank's total.

In addition, software for data analysis called "Pusaman" has been developed.

Experts say this is China's first independently made rice gene data bank.

Scientists said that the rice gene chip could be used in the development of new farm produce, screening of new pesticides or herbicides, and the cultivation of new high-yield breeding.

As intellectual property rights of these ESTs are solely owned by the university, the research and related services will bring economic reward, experts say.

(People’s Daily December 20, 2001)

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