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|Rice is one of the pillars of worldwide food security. Ever increasing global population, predicted water scarcity, decrease in arable land, the constant battle against new emerging pathogens and pests and possible adverse effects from climate change will present great challenges for rice breeders and agricultural scientists. Rice productivity is adversely impacted by numerous biotic and abiotic factors. Approximately ∼ 52% of the worlds rice production is lost annually owing to the damage caused by biotic factors, of which ∼ 30% is attributable to the attack of diseases. As chemical control of pests and diseases is known to maximize the cost of rice production, the host-plant resistance is considered to be an effective, economical and environmentally friendly strategy to control the disease. The rapid changes that occur in the virulence characteristics of pathogen population raise a continuous threat to the effectiveness of existing blast resistant varieties. However, cultivars carrying a single resistance gene can only retain their resistance for a short period of time after deployment in the field because of the instability of the avirulance genes. Consequently, the stacking of broad-spectrum resistance genes to different pathotypes (races) of the pathogen or the pyramiding of different resistance genes into a single cultivar are the two effective strategies in rice breeding programs. The development of molecular genetics and associated technology like Marker Assisted Selection has led to the emergence of a new field in plant breeding-Gene pyramiding. Pyramiding entails stacking multiple genes/QTL leading to the simultaneous expression of more than one gene in a genotype and develops durable resistance expression. Gene pyramiding holds greater prospects to attain durable resistance against biotic and abiotic stresses in crops. In general, the development of pyramid lines is a long and costly affair in addition to the epistatic effect. However, MAS based gene pyramiding could facilitate in pyramiding of genes effectively into a single genetic background and identify the combined effects.|
Parashuram Patroti has completed his graduation in Agriculture from UAS, Dharwad and Masters degree in Genetics and Plant breeding from UAS, GKVK, Bengaluru. He is presently receiving ICAR-SRF and Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for pursuing his Ph.D. degree in Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad since 2011.
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