News on Health & Science

Anti-Cancer Agent in Rice

Agricultural scientists in Kerala have identified and isolated a gene fragment from an Indian rice variety that expresses a protein which is believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties, particularly against breast cancer. The protein — called the Bowman-Birk Trypsin Inhibitor (BBTI) protein — has earlier been isolated from a few other crops such as soybean, barley and sunflower. But it’s for the first time that it has been found in a rice variety in the country, say researchers at the Kerala Agricultural University. The Ayurveda system of medicine has already been using njavara — the particular rice variety found in Kerala — in the treatment of neurological disorders, rheumatism and arthritis. The scientists say they had been able to identify segments of the gene that encodes the chemo-preventive protein, but not a full gene. Interestingly, the protein has 94 per cent resemblance to the BBTI protein found in Japonica rice in China. However, it is for the first time that it has been discovered in an Indian rice variety.
Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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