A pervasive species of rice, dubbed “weedy rice,” masquerades as a normal rice plant in appearance, yet through genetic mutation is virtually un-harvestable. UMass Amherst evolutionary geneticist Ana Caicedo is conducting research into the invasive strand’s genetic sequence so that farmers can better understand and control the weed and its undesirable traits. Weedy rice (Oryza sativa) and the common rice plant (Zizania palustris) evolved from a common ancestor, yet by genetic makeup, weedy rice seeds ripen erratically and are dispersed by the plant before they can be harvested. Learn more.
Photo credit: Caicedo Research Group