Biotech Updates

Scientists Set out Roadmap to Improve Yield Potential of Rice

September 15, 2011

An urgent and coordinated effort is needed to improve rice production to feed the booming population, according to a group of leading rice scientists. Thus, they have set up a roadmap for enhancing the yield potential of rice, particularly the plant's genetic capability to produce grain, during a special meeting of The Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) at CIAT's headquarters in Colombia.

During the workshop, they agreed that there is a need for a more risky "blue-sky" research and greater emphasis on diverse rice improvement approaches worldwide. The scientists hope for new initiatives that will bring sustainable gains in rice production, comparable to those achieved for maize in the developing countries since the 1970s. This work will complement pioneering but uncertain research aimed at ramping up photosynthesis in rice, which, could possibly deliver a quantum leap in yield potential.

They also identified a number of "safe-bet" rice breeding approaches, such as pyramiding of genes associated with important plant traits; more powerful tools from molecular biology, genomics, and phenomics; and a breeding technique known as "recurrent selection" for the conventional "pedigree" approach to rice breeding.

Read more details about the workshop at