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PhilRice studying heat-tolerant rice variety as it pushes climate change-ready technologies
Researchers identified promising breeding lines that exhibit tolerance to drought and heat stress that will pave way to the development of new varieties that addresses climate change in the country’s major rice-growing areas.
Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study entitled, “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” presented at the 23rd Federation of Crop Science Societies of the Philippines, Inc.
Scientific Conference in Clark Zone, Pampanga last month, said although rice normally grows at temperatures between 20 and 35°C, it is at its most sensitive during the booting and flowering stages. Hence, even short-duration chronic dry spells occurring during these stages will result in substantial yield loss.
Padolina and her team started the series of screening in 2012 where 817 mutant lines were initially screened for drought stress and leaf blast, and later with emphasis to heat stress. Mutant lines are valuable genetic variations for crop improvement. They are the results of induced mutation where one or two of their major traits, for instance plant height and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, were altered.
The researchers said promising lines were exposed to temperatures ranging from 21.1°C to 34.4°C at field trials, and 34°C to 38°C at screenhouse trials for 3 consecutive seasons to test and validate their grain fertility and pollen viability.
On the other hand, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has produced an information kit to equip farmers with information on how they can better adapt to the impacts of climate change.