Songbiao Chen

Songbiao Chen

Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China

Title: Molecular breeding of rice resistant to blast disease


Songbiao Chen received his PhD degree from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2005. He conducted his post-doctoral research at The Ohio State University from 2005 to 2009, and then worked as a senior research associate at The Ohio State University from 2009 to 2010. He is a professor at the Biotechnology Research Institute, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China. His research programs focus on plant disease resistance, plant functional genomics, and crop molecular breeding.


Rice is one of the most important cereal crops in the world, which provides food for more than half of the world’s population. The blast disease is one of the most destructive diseases of rice, and is a leading constraint to rice production worldwide. Development of blast-resistant rice varieties has been proved to be the most effective and environmentally-sound way in controlling the rice blast disease. Over the past years, we initiated a molecular breeding program to develop blast-resistant rice: 1, we have performed a three-year continuous filed evaluation of blast resistance of a large core collection of rice breeding materials in China, and evaluated the genetic background of blast-resistant germplasm resources using molecular markers; 2, we developed a set of functional co-dominant molecular markers for several cloned blast-resistant Pi genes; 3, we generated rice pyramided lines carrying multiple allelic resistance genes via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, and investigated the complementation resistance spectrum of different allelic genes in pyramided lines. Through the integrated molecular approaches, a number of rice breeding materials with broad spectrum blast resistance have been identified, and a practical marker-assisted selection procedure has been established, providing a basis for molecular breeding of rice resistant to blast disease. Using marker-assisted backcross breeding approach, an elite thermo-sensitive genic male sterile rice line 710S, and an elite restorer rice line MH3301 have been improved for blast resistance.