Rice has been chosen as the model cereal for functional genomics by the international scientific community not only because it is a major global food crop but also because of its small genome, the ease with which it can be transformed, its well understood genetics with detailed genome physical maps and dense molecular markers, and the existence of great similarities in gene sequence, gene structure, gene order and gene function among all the cereals and grasses. Genes identified in rice as being important agronomically are also important in other cereals, and any understanding of rice genes is directly applicable to other cereals. Rice Functional Genomics - Challenges, Progress and Prospects covers the whole spectrum of rice functional genomics. The contributed chapters reflect the collective wisdom of more than 70 leading scientists working in this emerging and fascinating area of science. In addition to overviews of the current status of genome sequencing and annotation, various chapters describe the tools and resources being developed worldwide such as expressed sequence tags (ESTs), full-length cDNAs, gene expression profiles (transcriptome, proteome and metabolome), chemical- and radiation-induced mutants, TILLING resources, insertional knockout mutants (T-DNA, transposon and retrotransposon) and activation tags. Exploitation of naturally occurring alleles, Oryza map alignments, gene targeting by homologous recombination and gene silencing by RNAi as well as the application of functional genomics tools for crop improvement and the power of comparative genomics are covered in separate chapters. Various bioinformatics tools and resources pertinent to rice functional genomics are also described and discussed. It is hoped that scientists involved in all aspects of rice research will find this book useful as it spans the divide between molecular biology and plant improvement.

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