As a potential climate-resilient crop of the mobile and semi-mobile sand dunes in Central Asia, sand rice has attracted more and more attentions due to its exceptional nutritional properties and medicine values in recent years. However, the marketing of this species is very limited partly due to insufficient knowledge of its benefits for human health and little agronomic modification.
A research group from the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) proposed the hypothesis of the domestication of sand rice, the researchers systematically summarized the related research results from the nutritional value and de novo domestication perspectives.
In this study, the researchers showed the native distribution areas and chromosomes of sand rice, and characterized the major components and metabolites of sand rice seeds in comparison with those of quinoa.
They also presented recent agronomic modifications by chemical mutagenesis to highlight the domestication process of sand rice.
The study shows that breeding by individual selection has been performed and yield of the best genotype can reach up to 1295.5 kg/ha.
Furthermore, the researchers also used chemical mutagenesis to modify the undesirable traits, and they carried out a case study of a dwarf line. Utilization of both breeding methodologies will accelerate its domestication process.
Besides, according to the researchers, as a novel crop, sand rice research is rather limited compared with quinoa, more scientific input is urgently required if the nutritional and commercial potentials are to be fully realized.
This study has been published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in a review entitled "Healthy values and de novo domestication of sand rice (Agriophyllum squarrosum), a comparative view against Chenopodium quinoa."
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