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Project update report
October 15, 2007

Date Report Submitted: October 15, 2007


GCP Project Number:SP3 G4007.03

Project Name:

“Community of Practices” Concept applied to rice production in the Mekong Region: Quick conversion of popular rice varieties with emphasis on drought, salinity and grain quality improvement

Principal Investigator

Dr. Theerayut Toojinda, National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) Collaborators (name, affiliation):

Dr. Jonaliza L. Siangliw, Rice Gene Discovery Unit (RDGU), Thailand

Dr. Wacharaporn (UBU)

Dr. Sureeporn Kate Ngam, Ubon Ratchatani University (UBU), Thailand

Dr. Monthathip Chang, National Agricultural and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), Laos

Dr. Men Sarom, Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Cambodia

Dr. Toe Aung, Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), Myanmar

Total budget

$65,000 (year 1)

Grant Period: (put the dates in original project contract)

(Start: Month: January Year: 2007) (End: Month: December Year: 2008)

Reporting period:

(Start: Month: May Yea: 2007) (End: Month: October Yea: 2007)


I. Executive summary

The long-term training and continuation of line conversion of target varieties started in May 21 – 30, 2007. Ten-day training was conducted at RGDU where two participants each coming from CARDI, NAFRI and DAR were trained by giving lectures especially on the use of molecular tools in plant breeding. Aside from lectures, laboratory techniques were taught to the participants. CARDI brought 125 BC2F4-CAR3 and 10 lines were found homozygous on 3 markers used in screening including BADH for aroma. NAFRI had 201 BC2F3-TDK1 lines and 7 were homozygous for aroma and gelatinization temperature. Salinity tolerance of IR53936 was continued by DAR by screening 188 BC3F3 plants. Seventy-seven plants were found carrying homozygous allele of Pokkali using a bi-direcitonal marker. BC3F1-IR57514 was also one of the populations screened in this training. Out of 352 BC3F1-IR57514 lines, 6 were found homozygous for aroma, gelatinization temperature, Xa21 and waxy markers. The selected lines were crossed to the recipient parents and the resulting backcross generations will be screened in November 2007. Likewise workshop on QTL and marker-assisted selection for plant breeding on site were conducted in every partner institute. RGDU team had been to CARDI in June, to NAFRI in July and to DAR in August. Lectures were delivered and techniques used in the laboratory were introduced to the participants using a video shown in their native language. Collaborating institutes discovered the potential of biotechnology in breeding program and in germplasm identification and management. All institutes are seeking help for more technology transfer and human resource development through trainings and scholarships.

II. Introduction/Background

Countries in Mekong Region share similar rice planting ecosystems and constraints in rice production. The main food production system in the Mekong Region is primarily rainfed lowland environments. Rainfed lowland ecosystems in Mekong comprised 48% to 85% of the total area for rice production. Rice in these ecosystems mainly suffers from drought, flooding, salinity and diseases, which was found common in countries in this region. All programs initiated to improve rice in the region were based on field evaluations and selections. Slow progress in developing lines was affected by highly variable macro and micro environments that affect the determination of improved lines (high G x E) (Wade et al., 1999; Cooper et al., 1999).

Application of biotechnology like marker-assisted selection (MAS) in rice breeding had been proven effective in Thailand. This technique has been used in line conversion and trait and gene pyramiding in Khao Dawk Mali 105 (KDML105) and RD6 backgrounds. The traits incorporated include resistance to biotic and abiotic stress such as leaf and neck blast, bacterial leaf blight, brown plant hopper, submergence, salinity and drought. Rice Gene Discovery Unit (RGDU), BIOTEC had the opportunity to convey knowledge to its neighbouring countries through trainings thus molecular breeding of rice in Mekong Region begun when long term training on MAS was initiated in 2004 as sponsored by Rockefeller Foundation. This training aims to develop popular rice varieties like CAR3, TDK1 and IR53936 from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, respectively which lack traits that may improve quality and adaptation in the local area. In the RF funded training, plant materials that have to be developed has not reached the final target. In the current project under the Generation Challenge Program, the lines initially developed have the chance to be continued until they reached target location testing.

Similarly, RGDU would like to extend the knowledge to its partner institutes not only to six selected representatives but also to plant breeders, educators and those involved in other disciplines by introducing new tools in plant breeding through workshops on site. On site workshops further intensify the enthusiasm of each institute to learn and apply biotechnology not only in breeding programs but also in protecting rich germplasm collections in each country.

III. Scientific activities (including tables and figures)

Training and line conversion at Rice Gene Discovery, BIOTEC

Ten-day training in May 2007 conducted at Rice Gene Discovery covered lectures and hands-on training on laboratory techniques used in marker-assisted selection such as DNA isolation, running agarose and acrylamide gels and PCR technologies. The achievements of our partner institutes are presented below.


CARDI would like to improve cooking qualities such as aroma, amylose content (AC), gelatinization temperature (GT) and gel consistency (GC) of CAR3 variety which is known as a drought tolerant rice. Rice quality traits were obtained from the famous Phka Ram Doul (PRD) and were transferred to CAR3 by backcrossing and marker-assisted selection. The breeding scheme used by CARDI is shown in Figure 1.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 May 2010 09:26