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Affymetrix releases new tool to test rice genes

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 8:45am
The Associated Press

Affymetrix, Inc., a maker of genetic testing technology, said Friday it has developed a new test to identify rice varieties and genetic traits.

The discovery will enable rice breeders to efficiently and cost-effectively track and fingerprint varieties. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Affymetrix made the announcement Friday at the Plant and Animal Genome XIX Conference in San Diego.

The company launched the GeneChip(R) Rice 44K SNP Genotyping Array, the first high-density rice genotyping array. The testing system provides a low-cost method for reliably identifying rice varieties and examining the genetic inheritance of important agricultural traits.

The array enables scientists to explore quality and performance characteristics of rice varieties all over the world, many of which are not well known, said Susan D. McCouch, professor in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University, who collaborated on the project.

The release of the array will quicken the discovery of natural variation and quality characteristics impacting rice production, which experts say must increase to keep pace with the world's growing population, said Andy Last, chief commercial officer for Affymetrix.

Affymetrix shares rose 8 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $5.37 in morning trading.

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