Selective breeding to improve rice

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) announces that a wild rice species has been crossed with cultivated rice to breed a salt-tolerant hybrid. Field trials are underway. If all goes well, this might allow farmers to grow rice on land which has become salty, after flooding or for other reasons such as climate change which raises sea levels.

No genetic modification (GM, genetic engineering) was involved. Biotechnology, yes indeed, as a photograph of ’embryo rescue’ shows in the IRRI article. The achievement is a hybrid between two rice species which don’t usually interbreed. It’s a bit like a vegetable mule. Except that horses and donkeys can interbreed quite easily whereas the wild rice Oryza coarctata doesn’t usually breed with cultivated rice Oryza sativa.

About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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4 Responses to Selective breeding to improve rice

  1. EqFe says:

    Big breakthough, I know it’s not GMO, but this is the type of thing that I had hoped GMO technology would be used for.

  2. Pingback: Nutrients in rice | Science on the Land

  3. Pingback: Rice Farming in India: A New Method | Rashid's Blog

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