NAGOYA UNIVERSITYSATREPS

The project on rice research for tailor-made breeding and cultivation technology development in Kenya

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Project Outline

Research Activities

To develop rice varieties carrying useful genes/QTLs to overcome stress conditions in Kenya such as drought, cold weather at high elevations, low soil fertility, and rice blast disease, we will develop a base for rice breeding and trait evaluation in Kenya. We will characterize locally available varieties to identify useful agronomic traits for use as breeding materials and then will conduct QTL analysis on these traits. By using molecular breeding techniques, the project advances the development of rice varieties carrying useful genes/QTLs based on the varieties cultivated in the country. We will also clarify the conditions for proper functioning of the useful genes/QTLs through analysing G × E × M interactions using the breeding lines to be developed. Based on the results of the G × E × M analysis, we will develop cultivation technologies that ensure the functional expression of useful agronomic traits in individual rice varieties. Furthermore, we will conduct surveys on the rice cultivation environment and management in the major rice producing area in Kenya to identify limiting factors for rice production. Upon identifying challenges in cultivation management, we will develop cultivation technologies to improve rice productivity and ensure sustainable rice production. We will proceed to verify the feasibility and effectiveness of these improved cultivation technologies in farmers' fields.

Research Approach

1) Development of a system for rice breeding and trait evaluation

We will create a base for developing rice varieties to overcome stress conditions in Kenya such as drought, cold weather at high elevations, low soil fertility, and rice blast disease. The base will include facility for crossbreeding, screening fields, standard varieties, and criteria for evaluating each trait, which will be described in a manual.

2) Identification of useful agronomic traits in locally available varieties

The project will characterize the locally available rice varieties using the above-mentioned trait evaluation system to identify useful agronomic traits. Furthermore, we will conduct QTL analysis on the identified useful agronomic traits. The varieties with these traits will be used as breeding materials in the future.

3) Development of breeding lines carrying useful genes/QTLs

By using molecular breeding techniques, the project advances the development of rice varieties carrying useful genes/QTLs based on the varieties cultivated in the country. Near-isogenic lines (NILs) and recombinant inbred lines (RILs) carrying useful genes/QTLs will be developed to clarify the effects of introducing useful genes/QTLs.

4) Clarification of actual situations of rice cultivation and improvement of cultivation technologies

We will survey the rice cultivation environment and management in the major rice producing area in Kenya to identify the limiting factors of rice production. Based on the results, we will identify fields with different water and soil conditions for fixed-point observation to identify challenges in cultivation management. Furthermore, we will develop cultivation technologies to improve rice productivity and ensure sustainable rice production based on the existing technologies. Trials at farmers' fields will be conducted to verify the feasibility and effectiveness of the improved cultivation technologies.

5) Evaluation of G × E × M interactions

We will conduct cultivation trials under controlled and actual environments using the breeding lines such as NILs and RILs to clarify the effects of cultivation environments and management techniques on the functional expression of useful traits through the analysis of G × E × M interactions. Upon clarification of the conditions for the proper functioning of the useful genes/QTLs, we will develop cultivation technologies that maximize the potential of individual rice varieties.