Table of Contents

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Elgar original reference

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.

Chapter 42: Rice

Matty Demont, Mao Chen, Gongyin Ye and Alexander J. Stein

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, biotechnology, environmental sociology, innovation and technology, biotechnology


Rice belongs to the genus Oryza under the family Poaceae. This genus comprises more than 22 species distributed across the tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions of Asia, Africa, central and south America and Australia but only two species are cultivated: Oryza glaberrima (Steudel) and Oryza sativa (L.) (Lu, 1999), the latter of which comprises the most common rice varieties, indica and japonica. Rice is the most important food crop of the developing world and the staple food of more than half of the world's population, many of whom are also poor and therefore vulnerable to high rice prices. Worldwide, more than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for more than 20 per cent of their daily calorie intake (Seck et al., 2012). New rice varieties, such as those released during the Green Revolution in Asia, increased farmers' income and reduced the level of under-nutrition (Evenson and Gollin, 2003). Genetically modified (GM) crops are modified through transgenesis or recombinant DNA technology, in which a transgene is incorporated into the host genome or a gene in the host is modified to change its level of expression. Like 'conventional' breeding, genetic modification allows scientists to transfer genes within species but, in particular, it also enables transferring genes that encode for desired traits between species.

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