The evolutionary genomics of weedy rice
Weedy plants that infest crop fields are a primary factor limiting agricultural productivity worldwide. Weedy rice (Oryza spp.) invades cultivated rice fields around the world, affecting one of the primary calorie sources for a large proportion of the world’s population. Our work, and that of others, has shown that weedy rice has evolved independently many times and from a variety of genetic backgrounds. However, most weedy rice origins have been from cultivated ancestors through a process of de-domestication. Much of our current focus is on understanding the genetic basis of traits that enable competitiveness in weedy rice, such as seed shattering (seed dispersal) and others. Our research on weedy rice has been supported by NSF grants DBI-0638820, IOS-1032023, and IOS-1947609.