Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2003
Publication Date: 4/4/2004
Citation: McClung, A.M. 2004. The rice plant: growth, development and genetic improvement. In: Champagne, E.T., editor. Rice: Chemistry and Technology. 3rd Edition. American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc., St. Paul, MN. p. 25-48.
Technical Abstract: From seeding to harvest the growth and development of the rice plant occurs over a span of approximately four months under typical growing conditions in the Unites States. During this time frame, the plant undergoes developmental phases including germination, vegetative growth, reproduction, and grainfill. Weather, field conditions, cultural management methods, and genetic makeup of the rice crop influence the physiological processes that occur within the plant as well as the duration of each phase. These factors ultimately affect the development, composition, and dimensions of the rice grain. The chemical constituents of the grain's embryo, bran layer, and endosperm influence the functionality of the grain whether it is used as seed, brown rice, milled rice, flour, starch, bran, or oil. Breeders study the genetic control and inheritance of traits to create new rice cultivars that will benefit producers, millers, processors and consumers. This process begins with the development of a genetically variable breeding population usually as a result of intermating varieties, but mutation and transgenic methods can also be used. Various field and laboratory evaluation methods are employed to evaluate progeny for desired combinations of agronomic and quality traits. The development time for a new rice cultivar averages about ten years. New tools in molecular genetics are helping to reduce cultivar development time and make breeding selections more accurate. Development of rice cultivars having improved and unique quality traits will help the rice industry to quickly respond to the changing needs of the global and domestic marketplace