Report: Genetic breakthrough could increase value of rice by 25%
A farmer checks on rice plants at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines last year.
July 19th, 2011
09:46 AM ET

Report: Genetic breakthrough could increase value of rice by 25%

Scientists say they are close to identifying the genes responsible for the chalkiness of rice, knowledge that could lead to increasing yields of the staple crop, the International Rice Research Institute reports.

Developing chalk-free varieties of rice could increase the grain's value by 25%, according to the report.

Chalk is the white portion of the grain. During the milling process, rice with high chalkiness breaks apart more easily, reducing the amount that makes it to market.

The chalkiness of rice is a product of genetics and environment, with a few low-chalk varieties now available.

Researchers at the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute looked into the genomes of high-chalk rice, rice with chalkiness that varied with the environment, and almost translucent low-chalk rice. They were able to identify areas in the genome responsible for chalkiness and will work further to find the specific genes.

“We are now working with the extremely low-chalk rice to generate different breeding lines to develop new chalk-free rice varieties,” one of the researchers, Xiangqian Zhao, said in a press release. “These can help farmers increase the amount of edible rice they harvest, produce higher quality rice, increase profit and deliver higher quality rice to consumers.”

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Filed under: Agriculture • Food • Philippines
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Philip

    Low. Thanks for asking.

    July 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fernace

    Swing low sweet dude junk, comin' forth to make me come... Oh dear, been reading too much Juan Banuelos, getting trolled up by osmosis!!

    July 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sigh


    July 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. leeintulsa

    So rice is gonna go up 25 percent? When already people all over the world can't afford food? Is that good news?

    July 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • csam18

      No. Rice isn't going to COST more to consumers. It's going to increase it's VALUE to farmers by 25%. Meaning the farmers will be able to produce more rice and make more profit from it instead of having batches that turn out to be junk. If anything, this should LOWER the price of rice in the market since there will be more edible and quality rice available due to successful harvests.

      July 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) " Ip man IS cool "

    Chalky? That's kind of a shallow. Thier probably not rinsing it properly. I consume plenty of Chinese food, all the time (not my heritage), but notice vast differences in the skill it takes to make it.

    July 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • csam18

      I don't think they're talking about the particles of rice that comes off and turns the water white during rinsing. They're talking about the chalkiness of rice that causes some of the grains to fall apart during milling making them worthless. The reference is due to how a stick of chalk can be easily broken apart.

      July 20, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sigh

    The MSG is what'll get ya...

    July 20, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. TMac

    Oh sure... more scientists are going to make our food better. Another disaster in the making. It's all about the money!

    July 20, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sammy Bergman

    If people destroy something replaceable made by mankind, they are called vandals; if they destroy something irreplaceable made by God, they are called developers.
    Joseph Wood Krutch

    December 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cristian

    Hmm, I wonder if griindng the almonds in mortar and pestle would turn out well. I of course, have not ever attempted to make it, but I have used mortar and pestle to grind roasted chick peas and that has worked well in the past, and I think that's the texture similar to what the almond powder should have. I also think that griindng it would be fresher than buying it powdered.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
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