All red rice found in commercial rice in the United States has traditionally been classified as Oryza sativa ssp. indica. This assumption was tested by analyzing red rice samples collected from across the southern United States rice belt with 18 simple sequence length polymorphism (SSLP) markers distributed across all 12 chromosomes. The results clearly demonstrate that the traditional classification of red rice is inadequate. Some red rice is closely related to O. sativa ssp. indica cultivated rice. However, other red rice is more closely related to O. sativa ssp. japonica. Most importantly, some red rice samples collected from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas form a distinct group that includes a number of Oryza nivara and Oryza rufipogon accessions from the National Small Grains Center. In particular, red rice samples from three states were identified that for all 18 markers are identical to the O. rufipogon accession IRGC 105491. These different classes of red rice are intermingled across the southern U.S. rice belt and within individual production fields. Oryza sativa ssp. indica-like red rice and O. rufipogon-like red rice have been found within a single 9-m2 collection site. While the classification of red rice as O. sativa ssp. indica, O. sativa ssp. japonica, or O. rufipogon using DNA markers is generally in agreement with classification based on simple morphological traits, readily observed morphological traits alone are not sufficient to reliably classify red rice. Because red rice is much more diverse than previously assumed, this diversity must be considered when developing red rice management strategies.
Nomenclature: Glufosinate; Oryza nivara L.; Oryza rufipogon L.; Oryza sativa L. ORYSA, red rice; Oryza sativa L., rice.