Sequencing and exploitation of the genetic diversity in Vietnamese native rice lines to serve research and breeding programs

Lead Research Organisation: Earlham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED

Abstract

We propose to develop a modern staple food for a population of 90 million in Vietnam and it is also one of the main exporter commodities of the country. Vietnam is experiencing an exceptional growth in its economic output and rising population. There is an increasing threat from climate change such as emerging pathogens, periods of droughts and rising sea levels. Under greatest risk are the deltas of the Red and Mekong rivers: the major rice growing regions of Vietnam. The rapid selection of rice varieties that are tolerant and resilient to these conditions will help to mitigate some of these challenges and ensure food security in Vietnam. The Earlham Institute (EI) in the UK and the Agricultural Genetics Institute (AGI) in Vietnam collaborated to sequence the genome of a reduced number of Vietnamese rice varieties to characterise the genetic variations in native lines and develop molecular markers that could be used to accelerate rice breeding. The application of new genomics technologies to improve crop breeding is one of the priorities at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) at UK. The project continues the partnership initiated between EI and AGI in collaboration with NIAB. We aim to expand the pilot project to complete the re-sequencing of around 600 lines. We will complement the generation of these data with the development of databases and the application of bioinformatics pipelines to identify associations of alleles with specific phenotypes. We expect to characterise markers that will enable more efficient rice breeding. The application of modern technologies to rice breeding will also provide an excellent example of how these strategies could be applied to other plant species such as wheat and barley. Rice has a simple genome for which many genomics resources have been already generated and it offers an excellent model for the evaluation and assessment of new strategies for breeding that could later be applied to more complex crops.

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