More than 90% of the world’s rice is grown and consumed in Asia where 60% of the earth’s people live. Food security requires continued and sustainable increase in rice production. This increase in rice production has to come with less land, less water, less chemicals and less labor. Much of this increase has to come from new high-yielding cultivars with resistance to multiple stresses. Plant breeders are responsible for impressive gains in crop productivity. Some long breeding period decreases the efficiency of research and development of new varieties.
Recent advances in agriculture offer new opportunities to overcome the constraints limiting rice production. Nevertheless, innovative breeding methods and the emerging tools of rice molecular genetics and genomics must supplement the conventional breeding approaches that enable breeders to deploy more efficient and effective breeding strategies to maximize rice productivity and resource use efficiencies in various stress environments.
The one-week Rice Molecular Breeding Course (RMBC) held by Central and West Asian Rice Center (CWARice) based on agreed minutes of 5th Technical Management Committee (TMC) of CWARice and educational section of approved 5-year program of CWARice for 2018-2022. RMBC conducted on 30 July-5 August 2018 in coordination with Rice Research Institute of Iran (RRII), Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran-North Branch (ABRII) and Higher Scientific and Applied Education Institute of Jihad-e-Agricultural for participates from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, I.R. Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkey.
The development in the molecular tools exerted a deep impact on plant breeding, for example; marker assisted selection (MAS) has been successfully used in rice to incorporate major genes and/ or large-effect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) controlling stresses.
The RMBC course covered the following topics:
- Fundamentals of rice breeding programs
- A brief of conventional breeding
- DNA extraction
- Genetic diversity and population structure
- Molecular markers: techniques and methods
- Quantitative trait loci (QTL)
- The importance of grain quality in molecular breeding programs
- Gene expression
- Molecular breeding approaches for environmental stress