Rice refers to the seeds of African or (more commonly) Asian rice. Several species in the genus Oryza, as well as in the now-extinct genera Zizania and Porteresia, have borne names identifying them as rices, but these two species stand apart with a particular, crucial trait selected for by domestication: their seeds do not shatter. Most of the grasses in these genera have shattering seeds, helping them to propagate more widely. Since the seeds of African and Asian rice do not shatter, they have a harder time propagating on their own, but this also makes their seeds far more useful to humans as a food source.

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