Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Did the Green Revolution select against drought tolerance in rice? Some evidence from major drought-yield QTLs

An IRRI Seminar

By Arvind Kumar
Senior scientist and plant breeder
Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division

1:15-2:15, Thursday, 14 November 2013
Havener Auditorium, IRRI


In the last three decades, a number of varieties developed for the irrigated rice ecosystem have become popular in rainfed areas because of their high yield potential and acceptable grain quality and cooking traits. However, these varieties are highly susceptible to drought. 

Farmers in rainfed areas have experienced major yield losses in recent years from increasing frequency and severity of drought. Unpredictable rains and a shift in rainfall patterns have opened new discussions on the kind of varieties that should be developed, for both direct-seeded and transplanted conditions, to help farmers adapt quickly to climate change scenarios each year. The development of high-yielding varieties (for both rainfed and irrigated conditions) that are more resilient to a changing climate is possible because of the identification of a number of QTLs at IRRI for grain yield under drought and dry direct-seeded conditions, early and uniform germination, early vigor, lodging resistance, and other traits. 

This seminar will also present recent evidence that selection for high yield and dwarf plant height in the post-Green Revolution era unknowingly rejected some of the most important traits for rainfed ecosystems, particularly drought tolerance.   Additionally, I will present evidence on how the recently identified QTLs for grain yield under drought provide new opportunities for breeders to combine dwarf height, high yield potential, and good yield under drought.

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