Rice is the major cereal food crop which feed an increasing world population. The 7.3 billion mankind is expected to stabilize around more than 9 billion people by year 2050. The population growth will mainly occur in rice-eating countries.
The scientific community is therefore facing the challenge of providing the farmers with tools and resources that will enhance rice production while saving natural resources (water and fertilizers) in shrinking arable lands. Furthermore, this has to be achieved in a climate of increasing unstablility in which rice cultivation has to reduce its impact and participate to its mitigation. These questions have to be addressed through improved, environment-friendly and precise agricultural practices and new, enhanced and resilient varieties, both taking advantage of a functional diversity in the agro-ecosystems.
Recent breakthoughs in rice genomics have narrowed the gap between genetic variation and the phenotype and performance and allowed the deciphering of the function of important genes underlying agronomically relevant traits. These discoveries are being readily integrated into breeding programmes worldwide.
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