Rice is the staple foodstuff for half of the world's population and the rice species Oryza sativa has become a model for understanding the genetics of cereal grasses. Draft sequences of the genomes of two main subspecies, japonica and indica, were generated by whole-genome shotgun sequencing and were published in April 2002. In the November 21 Nature, two papers report complete sequences of rice chromosomes generated in a clone-by-clone approach by the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project.

Takuji Sasaki and colleagues report the sequence of rice chromosome 1 — its longest chromosome (Nature, 20:312-316, November 21, 2002). They identified 6,756 coding genes within the 43.3 megabases of sequence. Almost half of these matched homologs in Arabidopsis and around a third could be functionally categorized. The most abundant gene family was the serine/threonine receptor kinase family.

In the second paper, Qi Feng and colleagues report...

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