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USDA Launches Funding Initiative for Rice Genomics

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.--The US Department of Agriculture, the US National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Energy are joining forces to map and sequence the rice genome.

"This important collaborative research promises to identify key genes in rice and other major food crops that could ultimately increase agricultural productivity," said Richard Rominger, deputy agriculture secretary, in a speech to the Rice Utilization Workshop.

The relatively small size of the rice genome makes it an ideal model system for understanding the genomic sequences of other major grass crops, according to Rominger. The project, which will be the second-largest genome to be completely sequenced, is expected to run three years in its first phase and cost $12 million.

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