|Identifying Novel Disease Resistance Genes|
Evaluating Oryza species for the most devastating rice diseases found in the United States, sheath blight and leaf blast.
The ancestral rice species (Oryza species) contain genes which were lost during the process of rice domestication. We have obtained several of these Oryza species from almost every country in Southeast Asia and from several different locations within each country. This collection of Oryza species is being screened for resistance to sheath blight and leaf blast to rediscover the "lost" resistance genes and incorporate them into currently grown U.S. rice varieties. Previously, we discovered sheath blight and leaf blast resistance in the ancestral rice species, Oryza nivara, and the closely related species Oryza meridionalis. We then moved this resistance into the background of the U.S. rice varieties Bengal and Lemont. (Moving genes within a genus, like Oryza for rice, by making crosses is a common practice for plant cytogeneticists and happens in nature.) Previously genes related to seedling cold tolerance were moved into the background of M-202, a California rice variety.
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