Molecular markers help identify rice quality traits

Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce  |  3/4/2015 2:10:23 AM

Herry Utomo, LSU AgCenter molecular geneticist, is using improved genetic technology to identify traits important to rice breeders.

“It gives us a more accurate picture,” Utomo said.

For example, characteristics such as amylose content and gel temperature can be identified with genetic markers. “We’re still in the process of developing markers for chalk.”

His current research focus is on developing efficient methods to simultaneously improve grain quality components that include grain chemistry, appearance and nutritional value. He also is evaluating DNA markers for nutritional value including lysine and protein components.

Traits such as yield potential are much more complex to identify in rice genetics, he said. “It’s more difficult because it deals with more genes.”

Utomo said the genetic work was conducted on rice from 8,000 breeder rows in 2014.

Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said Utomo’s work is useful for developing new varieties.

Having improved genetic markers make the breeding process more efficient and effective, he said.

“The work Herry is doing will lead to more fine-tuning in breeders ability to identify specific traits of interest,” Linscombe said.

This article was published in the 2015 Louisiana Rice Research Board Report.

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