The international efforts for rice genome sequencing began in 1998 with the aim to sequence complete rice genome in about 10 years.
India started the sequencing programme in 2000 by a funding support from the Union department of biotechnology and took the responsibility of sequencing about 10 million base pairs of genome sequence from rice chromosome 11 in five years. This target was advanced to complete the phase 2 sequencing by the end of 2002 and sequencing load increased to more than 14 million base pairs.
The chromosome 11 was chosen because it was known to carry several disease resistance genes including the Xa21 bacterial blight resistance gene.
The rice genome sequencing under the Indian initiative was shared equally between the Delhi University South Campus and the National Centre on Plant Biotechnology at IARI.
The chromosome segment sequenced by IARI scientists involve 6.825 million base pairs and is predicted to have a total of 1,005 genes, many of them with unknown functions.
The complete phase 2 sequence of rice genome will be declared by IRGSP in Tokyo on December 18 this year.