Accelerating the development of new submergence tolerant rice varieties: the case of Ciherang-Sub1 and PSB Rc18-Sub1
Submergence is an escalating problem in many rice producing areas. A submergence tolerance gene, SUB1, derived from FR13A was previously introduced into six mega varieties through marker assisted backcrossing (MABC) with the final product selected at the BC2 or BC3 generation. Their phenotype was similar to the original varieties, but they could withstand complete inundation for up to 2 or 3 weeks. Several of these varieties have been released in South and Southeast Asia; nonetheless the development of additional submergence tolerant varieties is indispensable to provide farmers with diverse choices of varieties that are preferable for the local needs and to avoid ecological vulnerability due to planting only one variety across vast areas. To accelerate this effort, the SUB1 gene has now been introgressed into two new popular varieties from Indonesia and the Philippines, i.e. Ciherang and PSB Rc18, respectively, through MABC using only one backcross (BC1) with the previously developed IR64-Sub1 as the donor. Since this new donor is closely related to both recurrent parents, a more rapid MABC approach can be pursued due to the similarity of genetic backgrounds. Using this strategy, new submergence tolerant varieties Ciherang-Sub1 and PSB Rc18-Sub1 were developed in less than 2 years, presenting a promising approach to convert additional popular varieties in the future.