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Chinese scientists clone critical gene in rice

By Tian Doudou (People's Daily)

14:29, February 03, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

After 25 years of hard work, a Chinese research team led by Zhang Qifa, a geneticist at the National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement under Huazhong Agricultural University, successfully cloned pms3, a critical gene for photoperiod-sensitive genic male sterility in rice, the university announced on Feb. 1.

Their achievement was published in the Jan. 31 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists have long considered long noncoding RNAs “junk DNA,” and few have conducted research on it.

As the first functional long noncoding RNAs ever found in rice, pms3 will open up a new area for research in the functions of plants' non-coding RNA.

The successful cloning of pms3 will directly improve the accuracy and efficiency in the breeding of new varieties of two-line hybrid rice.

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