What IBM rice study may teach us about people

Certainly genetic coding did not reveal what makes us tick. Perhaps decoding genes based on protein interactions will do the job. The Samudrala study may be the first step toward a new understanding of all life.

Ram Samudrala, University of WashingtonIBM's announcement last week that it will use its World Community Grid to study increased rice production may tell us more about ourselves than about the rice.

The study, which you can join here, aims to create better strains of rice by studying how rice genes and proteins interact.

Previously scientists have been limited to studying individual interactions, and the diseases which result.

So what's the big deal for those of us to whom Rice means alma mater and not sustenance?

As GenomeWeb Daily News reports, the human genome is actually smaller than the rice genome. But the human genome is known to code for 650,000 protein interactomes. That's 20 times more than for yeast.

By measuring and detailing the interactome codings in the rice genome (oryza sativa for those scoring in Latin), which is the aim of lead researcher Ram Samudrala (above, from Searle Scholars), we may get to the heart of what makes us so complex.

Certainly genetic coding did not reveal what makes us tick. Perhaps decoding genes based on protein interactions will do the job.

The Samudrala study may be the first step toward a new understanding of all life.