W380 Phenotyping Strategies to Mine Genetic Resources

Date: Sunday, January 15, 2012
Time: 2:15 PM
Room: Towne
Abdelbagi Ismail , International Rice Research Institute, Manila, Philippines
Numerous global challenges are facing today’s agriculture; including food insecurity, wide-spread of poverty, population growth and competition for resources, increase in input costs, adversities of climate change, and competition from growing attention to other global issues. Efficient genetic and genomic tools and reliable phenotyping approaches are needed to effectively mine existing genetic resources to sustain agricultural growth in the face of these challenges, particularly in less favorable areas and in developing countries. Over the recent past, considerable progress was made in developing tools for genetic manipulation, but with slow progress in matching phenotyping strategies, which still remain a bottleneck for rapid progress. Accurate assessment of the phenotype under realistic conditions is the prerequisite for effective breeding programs and for studies that can successfully contribute to modern breeding, including unraveling complex adaptive and agronomic traits, genetic mapping, whole genome association studies and deciphering functions of important genes. Conventional approaches, such as the use of field targets and hotspots, controlled environments and artificial media, and the direct assessment of plant responses including growth and yield, has been used successfully, but these approaches are mostly slow, laborious, expensive and sometimes less reliable or unavailable for the desired phenotype. Recent developments in automated high throughput techniques, with imaging capability, seems promising given accessibility to reliable calibration models, equipments and capital. Apparently, proper phenotyping requires concerted global efforts and networking to develop and utilize reliable protocols and high throughput facilities to mine existing genetic resources for crop improvement, in order to cope with these challenges.