APPLICATION OF RICE GENOMICS TO DEVELOP SUSTAINABLE CROPPING SYSTEMS FOR THE GULF COAST
Project Number: 6203-21430-005-00
Start Date: Jul 11, 2003
End Date: Jun 22, 2008
Develop scientific knowledge that will enhance the US rice industry and contribute to a sustainable agricultural system along the Gulf Coast using classical, quantitative, and molecular genetics along with grain chemistry, plant physiology, and systems agronomy. The development of rice cultivars will become more efficient and effective through the characterization and improvement of germplasm, new knowledge on the genetic control of economically important traits, and the development of improved phenotypic and molecular methods for identifying progeny containing desired combinations of genes. Using rice as a model system, increased knowledge of the organization of the rice genome will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the structure of more complex cereal genomes and will extend the impact of this research beyond the US rice industry and Gulf Coast region. Alternative crops and cultural management practices that enhance rice production efficiency and value will be developed that will help sustain agriculture in this region. Cropping systems that mitigate the negative effects of global warming and preserve natural resources will be identified. This research will strengthen the US rice industry, help preserve national food security, sustain international trade, and support the agricultural sector of a diversified economy.
The development of genetic markers associated with economically important traits will provide breeders with new tools for cultivar development. This program will identify chromosomal regions that possess genes controlling grain and whole-part traits that breeders desire to improve using genetic populations adapted to US growing conditions. Improved methods will be developed to facilitate the integration of molecular maker technology into breeding programs. Ultimately, this research will lay the foundation for a greater understanding of genomic organization in other cereal grains. For rice production to remain sustainable in the US, new rice farming systems must be developed that reduce competition for water resources, increase profits to farmers through reduced input costs or increased market value, and positively impact the environment. New cultural management systems that include reduced water usage, organic management, and rotations with alternative crops will be compared with conventional rice production practices to assess the impact on natural resources and the environment. Plant genetic resources will be identified that have high biomass production and are well to temperature stress conditions and rainfall patterns of the US Gulf Coast. Combinations of plant genetic resources and cultural management practices will be identified that enhance the capture of atmospheric carbon and nitrogen in soil organic matter and in plants to help mitigate the negative environmental effects of greenhouse gases.