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Golden rice: introgression, breeding, and field evaluation


Considerable progress has been made on the genetic engineering of rice for improved nutritional content involving micronutrients and carotenoid content. Golden Rice, developed by genetic engineering (Agrobacterium and biolistic transformation) was used in rice breeding for the transfer of high-nutritional value to the local rice cultivars. Simultaneously, commercial Asian indica rice cultivars were also developed with expression of high-carotenoid levels. The lines were developed based on POSITECH (PMI) selection system or made marker free by segregating out the marker gene from the gene of interest. Anther culture was used to develop the homozygous stable lines, which could be of much use in further introgress-breeding and in farmer’s field. Enhanced carotenoids levels (up to T3 generation) were observed in a number of lines compared to the T0-T1 seeds which could be due to transgeneration effect of growing under greenhouse versus field conditions. However, a few introgressed lines showed less carotenoid levels than the original lines used in the breeding process. Agronomic performance of introgressed lines, non-transgenic controls, and transgenic golden rice (IR64 and BR29) developed at IRRI showed acceptable and comparable data under identical limited field conditions (screenhouse data). Syngenta generated a new Golden Rice (US cultivar) containing high level of carotenoids grown in the field at Louisiana, USA is expected to be available to the public domain. Incorporation of genes for carotenogenesis in seeds by transgenesis or by introgression did not change any significant agronomic characteristics in rice plants. The ongoing and future study of bioavailability, quality, larger field testing and freedom to operate will ensure the benefit of Golden Rice to the people who need them most.

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We thank the USAID and HarvestPlus Challenge Program (“Breeding Crops for Better Nutrition”) for financial and research support and Dr. Adrian Dubbock (Syngenta), Dr. Ingo Potrykus (Retired ETH-Professor) and Dr. Peter Beyer (University of Freiurg, Germany) for providing us with the pmi, pCaCar, and pBaal3. We gratefully thank Dr. M Mahiul Haque from BRRI, Bangladesh for selecting the BR29 lines and transfer to IRRI for developing Golden BR29. Dr. Donald Mackenzie from AgBIOS, Canada for the support of work in Bangladesh along with BRRI (Bangladesh). Special thanks are due to Dr. Gary Toenniessen (Rockefeller Foundation) who supported the Rice Biotechnology program at ETH-Zurich, IRRI, Philippines and to initiate the Golden Rice project. We thank Dr. Tony Conner for discussions and valuable comments.

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Correspondence to Swapan K. Datta.

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Datta, S.K., Datta, K., Parkhi, V. et al. Golden rice: introgression, breeding, and field evaluation. Euphytica 154, 271–278 (2007).

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