Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 27, 2005
Publication Date: January 15, 2007
Citation: Mcclung, A.M. 2007. Part II. Breeding selected crops, Breeding rice. In: Acquaah, G. editor. Principles of Plant Genetics and Breeding. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. p. 498-508.
The USDA-ARS rice breeding program located at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center at Beaumont, TX has been in operation since the early 1930's. The objective of this program has been to develop superior performing rice cultivars that are adapted to the southern rice growing region of the United States which includes Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. Development of new rice cultivars must include selection for agronomic traits, resistance to disease and insect pests, and grain quality traits. The development of 'Saber' rice is an example of a recent breeding project conducted by the ARS rice variety development program in Beaumont. The step by step process for the development of this cultivar, which took over a decade, is described in detail. Although Saber was developed using conventional pedigree breeding techniques, during the timeframe of its development, molecular technology came into use. The implementation of marker assisted breeding technology in the last stages of the development of Saber allowed verification of the presence of a new disease resistance gene in this cultivar. Thus, the release of Saber for production in the southern U.S. provided a biological means for reducing yield losses due to disease.