[00:00.00]Scientists have discovered the genetic secrets of two unpopular members of two favorite food families.
[00:11.43]They hope the discoveries will produce tastier tomatoes and stronger rice.
[00:18.82]The scientists discovered the complete set of genetic rules of African rice and wild tomatoes.
[00:28.42]They published their studies in two reports in the journal Nature Genetics.
[00:35.24]There are good reasons African rice and wild tomatoes have not been popular.
[00:42.87]Asian rice is more productive and easier to process than African rice.
[00:49.63]The wild tomato is poisonous.
[00:53.76]Rod Wing is a plant biologist at Arizona State University.
[00:59.73]He helped map the African rice genes. And there is some good news to report.
[01:07.74]"There are some varieties that have been kinda well-adapted to grow in kind of mangrove areas,
[01:13.24]which are quite a bit more salty than you would experience for Asian rice."
[01:16.62]Mr. Wing says African rice can grow in salty and even poisonous soil.
[01:24.28]And it can grow around weeds and in extremely dry conditions.
[01:30.26]He says this strength is increasingly important as climatechange makes crop production more difficult.
[01:40.29]He says that this is important because the Earth's population is growing quickly.
[01:46.81]"There's gonna be two-to two-and-a-half-billion more people on the planet in less than 40 years,
[01:52.28]and that's a pretty scary scenario."
[01:55.36]Scientists will be able to make better rice faster.
[02:00.12]They can now identify the genes that control what is good
[02:04.80]about African rice and combine those genes with Asian rice.
[02:11.19]The wild tomato also has some good qualities.
[02:15.24]Scientists found that it can grow in salty as well as very dry conditions,
[02:21.56]like the African rice.
[02:24.02]Bjorn Usadel of Germany's RWTH Aachen University is one of the scientists
[02:32.23]who published the genetic maps of the two plants.
[02:36.45]The map identifies the genes that may be responsible for these qualities.
[02:43.13]"The tomatoes are green and potentially there's something inside that's just not healthy;
[02:47.99]but there's also other interesting things inside."
[02:50.39]The new map could also help improve the quality of tomatoes sold in food stores.
[02:57.51]Many people say these tomatoes do not taste very good.
[03:02.39]Mr. Usadel says researchers found differences in the genes of wild
[03:08.74]and farm-grown tomatoes that affect how they taste and smell.
[03:14.46]"So, even though these wild tomatoes definitely don't taste better,
[03:18.24]this population gives us actually an indication where the taste is coming from."
[03:22.74]The scientist says there is another use for the map.
[03:27.45]He says it will permit scientists to make sure that any new kinds of tomatoes developed from wild tomato
[03:36.67]do not carry any of its poisonous genes.
[03:40.17]I'm Caty Weaver.
[03:42.01]Words in the News
[03:46.58]popular - adj. liked by many people; generally approved by the public
[03:55.54]favorite - adj. liked more than others ("Ice cream was her favorite food.")
[04:04.19]publish - v. to make public something that is written; to include something in a book, newspaper or magazine
[04:15.70]climate - n. the normal weather conditions of a place
[04:22.22]different - adj. not the same
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