Genome, rice: The first commercially important plant to have its genome sequenced. This feat, completed early in 2001, is particularly important because rice is a staple food for a large portion of the population of the world. With the rice sequence, genes can be located to improve yields and make rice more nutritious.
Rice was the second plant to have its genome sequenced. The first was arabidopsis, a mustard-like weed that is "the laboratory mouse of the plant world."
The rice genome has about 430 million base pairs. Arabidopsis has a much smaller genome with about 125 million base pairs. By comparison, the human genome is about 3.1 billion base pairs long.