Biotech Updates

IRRI Develops SpeedFlower, the First Speed Breeding Protocol for Rice

January 10, 2024

The SpeedBreed multiplication chamber in the SpeedBreed facility at the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi, India. Photo Source: IRRI

Scientists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have developed SpeedFlower, a robust, first-ever speed breeding protocol for rice that will achieve 4 to 5 crops of rice in one year, which is almost double of what has been possible in current breeding programs.

SpeedFlower focuses on optimizing light spectrum, intensity, photoperiod, temperature, humidity, nutrient levels, and hormonal regulation to expedite growth, flowering, and maturity in rice. It has demonstrated flowering within just 60 days for tested rice varieties and achieved a 50% reduction in seed maturity time, irrespective of their natural flowering durations. The protocol is suitable for the vast majority of rice grown globally, including for indica and japonica.

A subset of 198 genotypes from 12 diverse sub-groups of Oryza sativa L. from the 3,000 Rice Genomes Project (3K RGP) was selected to validate SpeedFlower in the speed breeding facility at the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi, India. In field conditions, the flowering time of these genotypes ranged from 58 to 127 days. However, when grown under the optimized SpeedFlower, all 198 genotypes successfully flowered within 58 days.

“SpeedFlower demonstrates a remarkable impact of speed breeding on crop research. With this protocol, we can expedite crossing and inbreeding activities, completing them within 1.5–2 years instead of the usual 6–7 years required in the field,” said ISARC Director Dr. Sudhanshu Singh.

For more details, read the article in IRRI News and Events.

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