Sri Lankan Scientists Sequence Genome of “Goda Wee”

A team of genetic researchers headed by Prof. Vajira Dissanayaka from the The Human Genetics Unit (HGU), Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, has sequenced the genome of the “Goda wee” an indigenous rice variety of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka possesses about two thousand indigenous rice accessions, which are having various agronomic characters differing from one another and also differing from modern rice cultivars. “Goda Wee” is one of those indigenous traditional varieties of Sri Lanka which shows a very good tolerance to harsh environmental conditions including salinity.

Rice Genome Sequencing
Understanding the complete genome of “Goda Wee” will enable researchers and agriculturalists to develop new varieties of rice with new characters, making them better able to adapt to conditions of a changing climate. (Image- International Rice Research Institute)

Sequencing a whole genome of any organism is a real achivement given it has never been done in Sri Lanka before. The research was carried out by Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake MBBS, PhD, FNASSL (Director HGU and Principal Investigator), Dr. Sanjeewa Sinhabahu PhD (Lead Scientist), Dilini Gunawardana MSc (Scientist) and Chathura Wijesinghe BSc (Bioinformatician) from the Synthetic Biology Group at the HGU in collaboration with John Keells Research (JKR), a unit established by John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) to carry out futuristic scientific research, as a University-Industry partnership.

The ‘Synthetic Biology Team’ at the Human Genetics Unit: From left: Chathura Wijesinghe (Bioinformatician); Dilini Gunawardana (Scientist); Dr. Sanjeewa Sinhabahu (Lead Scientist); Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake (Director HGU and Principal Investigator) (Image - Daily FT)
The ‘Synthetic Biology Team’ at the Human Genetics Unit: From left: Chathura Wijesinghe (Bioinformatician); Dilini Gunawardana (Scientist); Dr. Sanjeewa Sinhabahu (Lead Scientist); Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake (Director HGU and Principal Investigator) (Image – Daily FT)

Understanding the whole genome of this Rice variety will help the scientists to identify various genes associated with unique characters of the plant and then these genes can be used in future crop development programs to produce new Rice varieties with better agronomic characters.

One thought on “Sri Lankan Scientists Sequence Genome of “Goda Wee”

  • March 20, 2015 at 8:15 am
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    This is an excellent event in Sri Lankan Life Science History. warm wishes to Prof Vajira and his team.

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