Increasing biodiversity of irrigated rice in Africa by interspecific crossing of Oryza glaberrima (Steud.) × O. sativa indica (L.) uri icon

abstract

  • The African rice Oryza glaberrima, traditionally cultivated since more than 3.500 years, is of poor agronomic performance but resistant/tolerant to various stresses and diseases. The introduction of these characters into O. sativa cultivars is difficult since crossing barriers cause spikelet sterility in F1. Backcrossing can restore fertility and recently facilitated the development of fertile O. glaberrima x O. sativa ssp. japonica hybrid progenies for rainfed systems. With the objective to gain access to African rice germplasm for improvement of irrigated rice, crosses were performed with eighteen O. glaberrima and twenty O. sativa ssp. indica accessions. In total about one hundred F1-hybrid grains were obtained. The F1 plants were all completely sterile and backcrossing (BC) to O. sativa was performed in order to restore spikelet fertility. Monitoring of Tog5681 x IR64 hybrid progenies under field conditions revealed a broad genetic diversity within the BC1 and BC2 populations. Some BC1 and BC2 progeny plants outperformed the O. sativa parent, indicating that the heterozygocity level and complementary gene action after two backcrosses are still sufficient to positively influence plant vigor. Spikelet fertility of progenies was highly variable, but almost complete fertility was already observed within the BC1F2 population. High spikelet fertility was preserved in one out of two analyzed BC1F3 families and in most of the BC2F3 families. The ability to restore spikelet fertility within few generations and the potential of the genetic diversity present in interspecific progenies facilitates the development of plant types specifically designed for the African irrigated and lowland environment.

publication date

  • 2003
  • 2003