Wild rice research: Advancing plant science and food security


Rice was domesticated in Asia (Oryza sativa) and Africa (Oryza glaberrima) from Oryza rufipogon and Oryza bathii, respectively. The Oryza genus has a pantropical distribution. The genetic diversity in Oryza provides an extensive gene pool to adapt rice to climate change and address future food security. The primary gene pool of domesticated rice includes species that are readily accessible for rice breeding due to ease of crossing, while more distant species are also sources of useful genes that can be recovered with greater difficulty. Advances in genomics and gene editing provide a path for use of this wider diversity. Studies of Oryza species also offer potential insights into rice biology that may be critical for ongoing rice food security.