By transferring a barley gene into a rice plant, scientists have created a new variety of rice. Of course, this is a genetically modified (GM) rice. Getting permission for the rice to be grown commercially will be an uphill battle, as it is with anything designated GM at the moment.

One of the advantages of this rice strain is that it produces considerably less methane gas. The study and research on this rice was recently published in the journal, Nature.

To some scientists, reducing methane emission that occurs in flooded rice paddies as methane-producing bacteria thriving on the carbohydrates secreted by rice roots in the oxygen-free soils, is a big concern.

Although it would be expected that this research would be reported from Asia or another major rice producing area, the lead author of the Journal report is Chuanxin Sun, a plant biologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. But field research of the rice has occurred in China.

In studies, the gene transfer resulted in rice with smaller root systems and starchier grain, and the methane produced was 10 percent of the methane produced in growing conventional rice.

The whole explanation of the scientific article as it appeared in The Los Angeles Times, written by Sasha Harris-Lovett, can be read by clicking here.