Rice research benefits from international exchanges

Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce  |  1/24/2017 8:36:22 PM

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AgCenter rice breeder Steve Linscombe, far left, shows a rice field to representatives of an Italian rice company. Linscombe is working with the Italians to obtain cold-tolerant cultivars that could be used to develop varieties that could withstand cold temperatures of early spring in Louisiana. Cooperation with other rice breeders around the world has allowed the AgCenter to obtain lines of rice that have been essential to the breeding program at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.

International collaboration with rice researchers has benefitted the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station as well as rice farmers, according to station director Steve Linscombe.

“The rice station cooperates with a number of institutions and companies around the world,” Linscombe said.

The station has obtained germplasm from two institutions in China for the hybrid breeding project.

Hybrid breeding requires a male-sterile line, and Linscombe was able to obtain one from the Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China. “We developed a research agreement with that institute, and we were able to obtain hybrid breeding lines that our hybrid program is based on,” Linscombe said.

Linscombe and AgCenter rice agronomist Dustin Harrell returned to Guangxi in September. “We will be obtaining additional lines from them fairly soon,” Linscombe said.

In addition, a relationship with the Chinese Tianjin Academy of Agricultural Sciences will provide more hybrid breeding material.

A relationship developed with Alberto Livore in Argentina provided a setting to test the first Clearfield lines almost 16 years ago, Linscombe said. “We worked with him to do several yield tests during our winters.”

Livore’s testing was repeated in the early development of Provisia. “We sent Provisia lines down there in the winter of 2014-15 to two different locations. This provided us with additional data to make decisions on what became the PV024-A line,” Linscombe said.

The AgCenter provided seeds from the variety Cocodrie, developed at the Rice Research Station in 1998, that was used in the development of Golden Rice aimed at boosting vitamin A levels in poor, malnourished populations of developing countries, Linscombe said.

The AgCenter is exchanging germplasm with an Italian rice breeding company to develop a cold-tolerant rice, Linscombe said. Rice in northern Italy is grown in a temperate climate that has spells of cold weather, and development of rice that can withstand lower temperatures in Italy could help improve cold tolerance for rice grown in Louisiana during the early spring.

The AgCenter has exchanged breeding lines with Uruguay and Brazil. “We have used a lot of South American germplasm in our breeding program through the years,” Linscombe said.

One of the parents of CL152, developed at the Rice Research Station in 2011, was the Uruguayan variety Tacauri, which Linscombe obtained in 2000 in a germplasm exchange.

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