From rice genetics to better rice, top research showcased

 Liz Barona-Edna   |  

The world’s leading experts in rice genetics – the science that brings us better rice varieties – are meeting in Manila, 5-8 November,  for the 7th International Rice Genetics Symposium (RG7).

7th International Rice Genetics Symposium (RG7) poster

Organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and managed by Kenes Asia, RG7 will be a hotbed of discussion on issues relevant to the science of rice genetics and how it can be used to improve food security.

“Rice is an incredibly special crop providing more than half of the planet with food every day,” said Dr. Eero Nissilä, head of IRRI’sPlant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division and convenor of RG7. “Importantly, for plant breeders, rice has an extraordinarily diverse genetic resource base that spreads across at least 24 different species of rice.”

“Scientists at RG7 are sharing the latest innovations that help us understand all this genetic diversity and capture it to breed new rice varieties,” he added.

An understanding of rice genetics is behind the development of rice varieties that can resist, for instance, different abiotic stresses such as floods, drought, and salinity. These “stress-tolerant” rice varieties are grown by millions of farmers all across Asia and the world.

Current rice genetics research not only seeks to further improve these rice varieties, but also to break new ground in developing rice that has higher yield potential, as well as healthier rice that is more nutritious.

The current and most ambitious research in rice that will be shared at RG7, is C4 rice. This research aims to improve rice’s photosynthesis to make it more productive and efficient in using resources like water, light, and nutrients.

“The people who contribute to the world’s food security are coming to Manila to share the latest scientific breakthroughs that could help solve global challenges relating to food security and climate change,” said Nissilä.

As part of RG7, journalists are invited to participate in a media event on 5 November called“Let’s talk GM rice” that will bring together RG7 experts to answer questions on rice genetics and genetically modified (GM) rice.

“Let’s talk GM rice” is by invitation only as we have limited space, but everyone is welcome toplease join the live stream of “Let’s talk GM rice” that will commence at 12noon (Manila time , +8GMT). Questions from online participants will be encouraged via #ricegenetics7 and to@RiceResearch on twitter.

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