Biotechnology Methods are Needed for Rice Improvement

In order to keep up with the increasing demand for rice, improvements are needed in rice performance parameters such as yield, quality, disease resistance, and other desirable growth characteristics. Conventional breeding methods will not be sufficient to yield the needed improvements in rice, and it is likely that biotechnology methods will be necessary to tap into the significant yield potential of rice.

This especially true in the case of hybrid rice. Many farmers have switched to growing hybrid rice due to the higher yields that it tends to produce. Technically, it is feasible to create intervarietal and intersubspecific hybrid rice strains by conventional breeding methods. However, it is impossible to exploit distant heterosis (the introduction of enhancing genes from other species or genera) without using molecular methods because crosses between plants of different species or genera normally leads to sterile offspring.