details in Agricultural Research
May Speed Breeding of New Varieties
By Marcia Wood
January 19, 2001
Rice plants that boast traits like
greater natural resistance to insects and the ability to thrive in salty soil
might soon be developed more quickly and easily by rice breeders.
ARS geneticist Richard R.-C. Wang,
working with university colleagues, discovered that a variety of rice from
China called Zhongxin No. 1 has a quirk that may shorten the breeding process
from 10 years to only 5 or so. Known as loss of heterozygosity or LOH, the
trait causes the genetic makeup of some second-generation hybrid rice plants to
become fixed, or constant, in subsequent generations.
Normally it takes many years of tedious, costly plant breeding before
combinations of valued traits can become fixed in offspring of hybrid rice
plants, Wang noted.
Wang and colleague Xiaomei Li, formerly at Utah State University, Logan, found that LOH
occurred in some hybrids produced by fertilizing flowers of Zhongxin No. 1
plants with pollen from U.S. rice plants. The scientists are the first to find
LOH in rice. Jiansan Chen of the
Chinese Academy of
Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, made the hybrids.
An recent article in ARS' Agricultural Research magazine
ARS is the chief scientific research agency in the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Richard R.-C. Wang, ARS Forage and Range Research
Laboratory, Logan, Utah, phone (435) 797-3222, fax (435) 797-3075,