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Tuesday, 23rd August 2011
In General Japan News,

Japanese scientists aim to breed 'radiation-proof' rice

Scientists in Japan are aiming to overcome the adversity of the Fukushima nuclear fall-out by developing a radiation resistant strain of rice.

The aim of creating a type of rice that does not absorb the radioactive element caesium from the soil has come as huge areas of cropland near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant will have to be destroyed instead of harvested.

University of Tokyo scientists will test over 100 different varieties of rice to see which strains naturally absorb less of the radioactive element. They will then aim to breed these strains to create a new type that is largely resistant to caesium.

Keisuke Nemoto, professor at the University of Tokyo's graduate school, told the Japan Times that they would then introduce these varieties of the staple food to rice from Japan.

"We might be able to develop new … rice strains if we find rice varieties that absorb less caesium through this project and cross them with Japanese rice," he said.

Written by Kimberley Homer