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Indian scientists have developed a high-density microarray chip that could speed up development of new varieties of rice.

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Indian scientists have developed a high-density microarray chip that could speed up development of new varieties of rice.

Post by Sk on Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:03 am

Scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural
Research (ICAR) have developed a high-density
microarray chip with more than 50,000 DNA
markers that could speed up the development of
new varieties of rice by at least five years. Among
its many applications, the chip can be used to quickly identify rice types, how they can affect
yield and how disease-resistant they are. Indian scientists designed their own DNA chip as
the only other such chip, developed at the Cornell
University in the US, was not available for research
in India. While the Cornell chip has 44,000 SNP
markers, the ICAR chip has 50,051 SNPs from
18,980 genes spanning all the 12 rice chromosomes. These single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
chips can scan all DNA from a rice variety and
analyse the genetic variation in that particular
variety, speeding up the breeding process. SNP is
the most abundant form of DNA sequence
variation present in plant genomes and has revolutionized plant breeding recently. With the ICAR rice chip, researchers can carry out
evolutionary and genetic diversity studies of
cultivated and wild rice seeds and tissues. A major
application of this chip will be in marker-assisted
back cross-breeding, explains T.R. Sharma, project
director at the National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, “With marker-assisted back cross-
breeding, scientists can identify the plant variety
with the highest recurrent parent genome more
efficiently and thus increase the yield”. He said.
“Usually, individual plants have to be planted for
each variety and then genes of each variety are observed. With the gene chip, this process will
take six to seven years instead of 12-15 years,”
explained Sharma. The chip was developed over five to six years at a
cost of Rs.50-60 lakh. “The ICAR rice chip will help
identify new useful genes from our vast genetic
resources of wild rice and traditional rice varieties
to face the twin challenges of growing population
and climate change,” said a press release from ICAR.


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