Weedy rice is unintended legacy of Green Revolution


Biologist Kenneth M. Olsen tends rice in the Jeanette Goldfarb Plant Growth Facility at Washington University in St. Louis. Credit: Joe Angeles/Washington University

A new global study reveals the extent to which high-yielding rice varieties favored in the decades since the “Green Revolution” have a propensity to go feral, turning a staple food crop into a weedy scourge.

Weedy rice is a de-domesticated form of rice that infests paddies worldwide and aggressively outcompetes cultivated varieties. A new study led by biologists at Washington University in St. Louis shows that weed populations have evolved multiple times from cultivated rice, and a strikingly high proportion of contemporary Asian weed strains can be traced to a few Green Revolution cultivars that were widely grown in the late 20th century.
The scientists believe that a universal process is at work, acting at…



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