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Crop Biotech Update

PhilRice Develops New Flood Tolerant Rice

September 28, 2007

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has developed a new rice variety tolerant to flood water and resistant to the bacterial blast, stemborer and tungro, three of the most dreaded rice pests. The new variety, Tubigan 7 (which means flooded in the vernacular), was developed using the DNA marker-assisted selection (MAS) technique. Tubigan 7 is the first-ever successful DNA-MAS product in the Philippines, and the second locally developed biotech rice, after the tissue culture-derived variety of improved traditional Wagwag grains. It has a fertility restorer trait and could yield about 8 tons per hectare during the dry season cropping, 5 to 6 tons per hectare during the wet season, and yields about 15 percent higher than the conventional harvest record in the Philippines.

Dr. Antonio A. Alfonso, head of plant breeding and biotechnology division of PhilRice, emphasized that Tubigan 7 is not a genetically modified crop, as the new variety was obtained through conventional breeding. The Philippine National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) has officially released it as a variety.

 For more information contact the SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center at spt@agri.searca.org.