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Scientists from Japan and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have discovered a rice gene that in preliminary testing increased production by 13–36% in modern long-grain indica rice varieties—the world’s most widely grown types of rice.

‘We discovered the gene, SPIKE, in an Indonesian tropical japonica rice variety,’ announced rice breeder Nobuya Kobayashi of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization—Institute of Crop Science in Japan. Dr. Kobayashi is a former IRRI scientist seconded from the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS).

Tropical japonica rice is mainly grown in East Asia and accounts for only about 10% of global rice production. Incorporating SPIKE into indica varieties that are very popular and widely used across 70% of global rice-growing areas could significantly contribute to food security…

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