Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Time: 9:15 AM
Time: 9:15 AM
Room: Royal Palm Salon 5-6
Rice production in unfavorable areas is hindered by abiotic factors such as drought, submergence and salinity, with yields less than 30% of that under favorable areas. This is further worsened by changes in climate that include increased temperature, sea level rise and changes in rainfall patterns. Concerted efforts are needed to develop crops possessing relevant tolerance traits to withstand these conditions and to cope with additional adversities. Recent advances in genomics facilitated the development and use of faster approaches and breeding strategies for germplasm improvement, with substantial progress made in developing submergence and salt tolerant varieties. The discovery and cloning of the SUB1A gene facilitated its subsequent deployment through high yielding varieties. SUB1A confers tolerance of complete submergence for 10-14 days, with no undesirable consequences, and its effectiveness was validated in farmers’ fields with yield advantages of 1 to 3.5 t/ha. Several varieties were developed within 2-3 years and released in Asia. Considerable progress was also made in developing salt tolerant rice varieties, with major QTLs identified (e.g. Saltol) providing opportunities to fast track breeding of salt tolerant varieties. Whole genome sequencing of 5 varieties has already allowed promising candidates to be identified for several QTLs in a cost-effective manner; and feeding these results into SNP genotyping platforms should allow fine-mapping to a sufficient resolution for use in marker assisted breeding to combine multiple QTLs for higher tolerance. Availability of stress tolerant varieties presents prospects for increasing system productivity and farmers’ income, while reducing risks and vulnerabilities to climate change.