|Rice and Weed Physiology - project page|
Red rice is a harmful weed of rice. It competes vigorously with rice, reduces its yields, and produces red colored grain which has a low market value and is undesirable to most consumers. Because red rice and rice are the same species, these plant types can cross-pollinate with each other, which can produce hybrid forms of the weed that are more difficult to control.
This photo shows experimental plots in which we are investigating cross-pollination or 'outcrossing' between red rice and some common commercial varieties of rice grown using reduced levels of irrigation water. Red rice is the single, tall row of light green-colored plants growing down the middle of the rice plots. Seeds will be harvested from these plants and tested in the field and laboratory to discover the number of hybrid weeds produced.
Some rice varieties have an ability to suppress the growth of weeds naturally. These varieties can use strategies such as physical competition by leaves, stems, and roots, and also the production and release of natural chemicals (allelochemicals) from roots that can inhibit growth of nearby weeds. We have developed a population of plants, known as a 'mapping population,' that will help us study and optimize the genes responsible for weed suppression, grain yield, and disease tolerance.
This photo shows a group of plant lines that was developed by crossing a high-yielding, weed-suppressive rice variety with a common moderately yielding, non-weed-suppressive variety. Each of these diverse plant types had the same two parents. We are measuring the important weed-suppression, grain yield, and disease tolerance traits in each of these lines. We are combining this knowledge with specific genetic information about the chromosomes of rice using tools called 'genetic markers' in order to discover special rice lines that possess optimum combinations of weed suppression and other desirable traits of rice.
To see more information on this research, click here.