Accelerating rice breeding will boost food security
A new study showed there’s a need for governments to accelerate rice breeding to achieve food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable rice farmers.
This, as agriculture publication called Nature showed the latest groundbreaking research on Genomic variation, which showed 3,010 diverse accessions of Asian cultivated rice maps — the largest set of genomic variants for a crop species.
“This information leads to faster and more accurate development of varieties suited to various agricultural environments, especially for unfavorable rice-growing areas where the poorest and most vulnerable farmers reside. Plant breeders can make more intelligent choices in selecting traits for improved varieties that farmers can cultivate, which leads to food and nutrition security, “ said Jacqueline Hughes, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Deputy Director General for Research.
“This is how advancements in rice science can impact the lives of millions of farmers and consumers,” she added.
A collaboration among IRRI, the Institute of Crop Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), BGI-Shenzhen, and 13 other partner institutions, the research will enable scientists to discover new gene variants and characterize known genes for important traits, such as the natural ability of a particular variety to resist diseases and withstand floods, drought, and salty water.
Additionally, molecular breeders could use the genetic markers to select rice plants that are more likely to carry a desired trait before they are planted in the field.
This research revealed that, among the 3,000 rice genomes, there are significant variations in gene content and immense sequence variation.
Researchers identified more than 10,000 new rice genes and over 29 million simple variations throughout the genome.
Additionally, within the two major rice variety groups, the analysis revealed the existence of previously unreported populations that are unique to specific geographic origins. Other evidence revealed that Asian rice was domesticated multiple times thousands of years ago.