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USDA Project Aims to Biofortify Rice with Essential Minerals

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other institutions are investigating the genes in rice involved in controlling the uptake and storage of vital minerals with the goal of improving the nutritional value of rice, the staple food of about half of the global population.

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other institutions are investigating the genes in rice involved in controlling the uptake and storage of vital minerals with the goal of improving the nutritional value of rice, the staple food of about half of the global population.

According to one of the USDA researchers, Shannon Pinson, they plan to develop new rice varieties with grains that have high concentrations of one or more of the 14 essential minerals such us zinc, iron, and calcium. The team are also developing molecular marker data to be used in identifying high-mineral rice plants without the need to grow them to maturity during breeding operations. To date, the team has already identified 127 gene locations in 40 different chromosome regions that are related to high concentrations of specific minerals and other grain characteristics.

For more details, visit http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2013/130528.htm.

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