AGRI NEWS:  6  NEW  RICE  VARIETIES  SET  FOR  COMMERCIAL  RELEASE

CABANATUAN CITY, AUGUST 9, 2006
 (MALAYA) By JOJO DE GUZMAN - The National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) has recommended six rice varieties for commercial release, including the new rice variety NSICRc142 or Tubigan 7.

Bred by Philippine Rice Research Institute(PhilRice), NSIC RC142 is resistant to bacterial leaf blight (BLB) and is the country’s first rice variety to be developed using this modern breeding method.

According to PhilRice’s plant breeding and biotechnology division head, Dr. Antonio A. Alfonso, "in the conventional breeding method, the selection of BLB-resistant plants is done at around 45 days after transplanting and it requires actual inoculation of the pathogen and observation for disease occurrence after 2-3 weeks".

The BLB resistance gene (Xa21) was introduced to this variety using DNA markers. DNA markers help plant breeders locate genes of interest, usually those that are associated with desired traits such as BLB resistance. These markers are also called the "breeders’ kilometer posts".

Thus, with DNA markers, plant breeders can easily identify plants that are resistant to BLB without going through the tedious process of growing the plants to a certain stage.

Dr. Alfonso said with DNA markers, "only those potentially having the desired traits are subjected to screenhouse or field selection. This way, breeding efficiency is drastically increased due to reduced cost as a result of reduced number of test entries and time needed for selection".

Tubigan 7 is more adaptable under direct wet-seeded culture but it can also be grown in transplanted culture.

Field tests on Tubigan 7 show that it has higher yield in both wet-seeded and transplanted cultures than PSBRc30, which was approved for commercialization by NSIC in 1995.

According to Alfonso, "It has many traits similar to IR64, which served as its recurrent parent. One of its important characteristics is its improved reaction to BLB as a result of introducing resistance genes using DNA markers".

Tubigan 7 has intermediate resistance to major pests and diseases of rice particularly bacterial leaf blight, sheath blight, stemborers, green leafhopper, and brown planthopper.

It has good milling and eating qualities and physical attributes. It also has low amylose content, meaning, it is moist and sticky when cooked.

After Tubigan 1 to 6, the 7th version was approved for commercialization by the NSIC board chaired by Agriculture Secretary Domingo F. Panganiban last June 5.

The variety is also one of the lines developed in biotech projects earlier supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and Asian Development Bank-funded Asian Rice Biotechnology Network.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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