First Day

Today, we were formally introduced to our supervisors. Mine is post-doc Dr. Hsiang-Chun Lin (but everyone just calls her Hsiang). She gave me a tour of the lab and office space. Since the C4 project is what IRRI is most known for right now, I am working in one of the biggest and most important labs on campus. Hsiang gave me a large stack of papers and protocols to read by tomorrow. I didn’t leave the office until about 5:45 pm. When I met up with the rest of the group from IWU, they said they only stayed about 20 minutes to 2 hours. I was there about 4 hours.

But in my reading I found that rice is the top crop for caloric intake (second and third being wheat and corn). Unfortunately, current rice yields cannot support a growing population. Multiple articles on making C3 plants (such as rice) use the more efficient C4 pathway even mention the work being done at IRRI. It has been noted that C4 plants (such as corn) tend to have better yields and chances of survival than many C3 plants. The goal of C4 rice is to have a greater yield and lower carbon compensation point. Unfortunately, many recent experiments of transgenic plants using the C4 pathway exhibit lower yields than their wild-type counterparts.

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