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OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists are reviving long-ignored African rice to cut dependence on Asian varieties that may be less able to withstand the impact of climate change on the poorest continent, a report said on Friday.

Historically, scientists have focused on breeding useful traits such as disease resistance from African rice into Asian rice. Now the focus is on the reverse -- using African rice as the basic crop and improving it with Asian genes. "African rice was initially ignored by mainstream research," said Koichi Futakuchi, a scientist at Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in a statement.

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