Hyderabad: The city-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the Directorate of Rice Research are jointly undertaking a project under the 12th Five Year Plan to impart disease resistant traits to the Samba Masuri rice variant.
The two institutes had earlier developed an improved version of the rice variant, which is resistant to Bacterial Leaf Blight disease. They say that it has been successfully used in about 60,000 hectares in the state.
The CCMB and DRR had introduced the improved BLB resistant Samba Masuri rice variant in 2008. “No breakdown of resistance in our improved Samba Masuri rice variant has been observed so far. But 10 years from now, we don’t know, the bacteria could develop resistance and we will have to develop new variants,” said Dr Ramesh Sonti, chief scientist at CCMB. “It is difficult to know how and when the pathogen will change itself but it will continuously evolve,” he added.
The CCMB and DRR scientists are working on the project under the 12th FYP to improve the rice variant and acquire additional traits like resistance to stem borer and other such widespread pests.
Dr B.C. Viraktamath, project director, DRR, said, “It will have new traits which make the same rice plant resistant to several diseases. But it is a long and tedious process and will take time.”
Dr Mohan Rao said that though tedious, they prefer this method since the more direct Genetic Modification is not acceptable yet.
The CCMB will also host the 4th International Conference on Bacterial Blight from Monday, which is jointly organised with the DRR and Society for Advancement of Rice Research. Scientists said it is one of the few conferences with such microscopic focus. Dr Ch. Mohan Rao, director, CCMB, said the conference will have 25 international participants in addition to nearly 200 Indian scientists.
Dr R.M. Sundaran, senior scientist, DRR, said, “There will be several discussions about the status of the disease pathogen affecting different variants and new strains that are now being seen.”...
Tags: cellular and molecular biology, directorate of rice research, disease resistant rice, samba masuri rice
Location: Andhra Pradesh