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Prelims Syllabus : Science & Technology Mains Syllabus : Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News:

  • Researchers from ICAR-National Rice Research Institute (NRRI), Odisha have mapped out the diverse genes in rice that help in disease resistance.

Details:

  • Rice blast, caused by a fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, is one of the major diseases of the rice crop. By characterising over 150 rice varieties from nine States across the country they also identified new markers associated with blast resistance.

Blast endemics:

  • From 1980-1987, seven blast endemics have occurred in India causing severe losses.
  • Fungicides are very expensive, harmful for the environment and inappropriate application can cause health issues. So researchers around the globe have been on a hunt for resistant genes against the pathogen and so far, more than 100 resistance (R) genes in the rice genome have been identified. The rapid changes in pathogen virulence pose a constant challenge to the success of existing blast-resistant rice varieties. Therefore, there is always a need to identify new broad-spectrum blast resistant genes/alleles in rice germplasm such as landraces, wild rice, etc,” The present study showed that the rice landraces collected from north-eastern states of India had the highest resistance.

Gene hunt

  • Specific DNA markers were used for accurate identification of specific resistant genes.
  • The landraces from Tripura had the highest number of resistant genes, followed by those from Maharashtra. The study also pointed out that rice varieties in the same ecological conditions can have different resistant/susceptible behaviours. The identified associated marker could be used for the selection of parental materials for the improvement of existing varieties with blast resistance.

ICAR:

  • ICAR is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India.
  • It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • Earlier known as Imperial Council of Agricultural Research, it was established on 16 July 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in pursuance of the report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture.
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