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World's oldest seed rice discovered

Posted August. 02, 2000 21:18,   


The world`s oldest seed rice has been confirmed in Korea.

On August 2, Chungbuk University`s Museum stated that the seed rice discovered in 1988 among the peat deposits in Area A, paleolith site, Ochang Science Complex, North Chungchong Province, have been confirmed as 17,000 to 13,000 years old.

Previously, the world`s oldest seed rice was seed rice that was about 10,000 years old, excavated from Hurnan Province, China, in 1997. And, previously, Korea`s oldest seed rice was seed rice that was about 5020 years old, excavated in 1991 from Ilsan, Koyang City, Kyonggi Province.

Lee Yoong-Cho, Director of Chungbuk University`s Museum stated, "As a result of precision science investigations, including radiocarbon dating, with geologists, the age of the peat deposits was confirmed to be about 17,000-13,000 years old. As the peat deposits are stable deposits with nearly no disturbances, the seed rice that came from here are of the same age."

Excavated seed rice are of two types -- ancient rice and resembling rice. Ancient rice have mixed lengths, both long and short, and there are 9 complete grains and 3 broken pieces. Resembling rice have 2 grains of complete rice, 5 halves, and 7 broken pieces. As a result of resemblance to modern rice through DNA inspection, the excavation team confirmed that there was 39.6% resemblance.

It looks like the results this time will become an important turning point for researching the origin and transmission of rice faming on the Korean peninsula and East Asia. Director Lee plans to report this fact to international academia through an international academic meeting organized by the International Rice-Cultivation Research Center, to be held in Manila, Philippines, in October.

Lee Kwawg-Pyo kplee@donga.com