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Grain traits traced to 'dark matter' of rice genome

Research finds that a sizeable amount of domestication-related changes in rice reflects selection on traits that are determined by a portion of the genome that does not transcribe proteins.

Domesticated rice has fatter seed grains with higher starch content than its wild rice relatives - the result of many generations of preferential seed sorting and sowing. But even though rice was the first crop to be fully sequenced, scientists have only documented a few of the genetic changes that made rice into a staple food for more than half the world's population.

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