An IRRI Seminar
By Hei Leung
Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division
1.15 - 2.15pm, Thursday, 12 September 2013
Havener Auditorium, IRRI
Genetic diversity is the foundation for all crop improvement. Knowledge of multiple facets of rice genetic diversity, from molecule to phenotype, is essential for effective conservation and use. Using disease resistance as an example, I will look back to see how genetic diversity has been used to manage diseases and how smart gene combinations can be used to achieve stable and ‘durable’ resistance. However, as both biotic and abiotic environments are fast-changing, more genetic options are needed for the future. New and cost-effective sequencing technologies have made it possible to pursue “population genomics” with the power to predict gene-phenotype relationships. I will discuss ways of using a genetic diversity platform to enable rapid mobilization of genetic resources to meet changing needs. This platform requires investment in (a) modernizing phenotyping methods in scope and scale, (b) creating specialized genetic stocks to complement the diversity maintained in the Genebank, and (c) a bioinformatics capability to integrate and use large-scale data.