genetic studies at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (ccmb) in Hyderabad has thrown up interesting results on the rice plant. One finding says that the 'leaf blight' might not have come from outside the country, but may well have existed in indigenous wild rices.
The rice plant is subject to about 50 different diseases, among which the leaf blight attacks the kharif crop. As wild rice varieties have existed in India since long, it is possible that the pathogen is also native to this country. The ccmb study says that wild rice was found to be infected by the bacteria Xanthomonas oryzae pv oryzae. In case of severe infection, it is assessed that up to 40 per cent of the total yield may be lost.