Origin, dispersal, cultivation and variation of rice

  • Gurdev S. Khush


There are two cultivated and twenty-one wild species of genus Orvza. O. saliva, the Asian cultivated rice is grown all over the world. The African cultivated rice, O. glaberrima is grown on a small scale in West Africa. The genus Oriyza probably originated about 130 million years ago in Gondwanaland and different species got distributed into different continents with the breakup of Gondwanaland. The cultivated species originated from a common ancestor with AA genome. Perennial and annual ancestors of O. saliva are O. rufipogon and O. nivara and those of O. glaberrima are O. longistaminata, O. breviligulata and O. glaberrima probably domesticated in Niger river delta. Varieties of O. sativa are classified into six groups on the basis of genetic affinity. Widely known indica rices correspond to group I and japonicas to group VI. The so called javanica rices also belong to group VI and are designated as tropical japonicas in contrast to temperate japonicas grown in temperate climate. Indica and japonica rices had a polyphyletic origin. Indicas were probably domesticated in the foothills of Himalayas in Eastern India and japonicas somewhere in South China. The indica rices dispersed throughout the tropics and subtropics from India. The japonica rices moved northward from South China and became the temperate ecotype. They also moved southward to Southeast Asia and from there to West Africa and Brazil and became tropical ecotype. Rice is now grown between 55°N and 36°S latitudes. It is grown under diverse growing conditions such as irrigated, rainfed lowland, rainfed upland and floodprone ecosystems. Human selection and adaptation to diverse environments has resulted in numerous cultivars. It is estimated that about 120 000 varieties of rice exist in the world. After the establishment of International Rice Research Institute in 1960, rice varietal improvement was intensified and high yielding varieties were developed. These varieties are now planted to 70% of world’s riceland. Rice production doubled between 1966 and 1990 due to large scale adoption of these improved varieties. Rice production must increase by 60% by 2025 to feed the additional rice consumers. New tools of molecular and cellular biology such as anther culture, molecular marker aided selection and genetic engineering will play increasing role in rice improvement.

Key words

wild species domestication indica rice japonica rice rice ecosystems isozymes 



International Rice Research Institute


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Andrus JR, Mohammed AF: The economy of Pakistan. Oxford University press, Oxford (1958).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Borgstrom G: Too many: an ecological overview of earth’s limitation. Collier Books, New York. 400 p. (1969).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brar DS, Dalmacio R, Elloran R, Aggarwal R, Angeles R, Khush GS: Gene transfer and molecular characterization of introgression from wild Oryza species into rice. Pages. 477486. In G.S. Khush (ed). Rice Genetics III, International Rice Research Institute, P.O. Box 933, Manila, Philippines (1996).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chang TT: The origin, evolution, cultivation, dissemination and diversification of Asian and African rices. Euphytica 25: 435–44 (1976).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Glaszmann JC, Arraudeau M: Rice plant type variation: `Japonica-Javanica’ relationships. Rice Genet Newsl 3: 41–43 (1986).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Glaszmann JC: Isozymes and classification of Asian rice varieties. Theor Appl Genet 74: 21–30 (1987).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Harland JR, De Wet MJ: Towards rational classification of cultivated plants. Taxon 20: 509–517 (1971).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jena KK, Khush GS: Introgression of genes from Oryza officinalis Well ex Watt to cultivated rice, O. sativa L. Theor Appl Genet 80: 737–745 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kato S, Kosaka H, Hara S: On the affinity of rice varieties as shown by fertility of hybrid plants. Bull Sci Fac Agric. Kyushu Univ., Fukuoka, Japan 3: 132–147 (1928).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Khush GS: Terminology for rice growing environments. Pp. 510. In: Terminology of rice growing environments. International Rice Research Institute. P.O. Box 933, Manila, Philippines (1984).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Khush GS: Development of varieties suitable for double cropping. Tropical Agriculture Research Series No. 20: 235–246. Tropical Agricultural Research Center, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan (1987).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Morinaga T: Classification of rice varieties on the basis of affinity. Pp. 1–14. In: Reports for 5th Meeting of International Rice Commission’s Working Party on Rice Breeding. Ministry of Agric and Forestry, Tokyo (1954).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Morishima H, Oka HI: The pattern of interspecific variation in the genus Oryza: Its quantitative representation by statistical methods. Evolution 14: 153–165 (1960).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Multani DS, Jena KK, Brar DS, Delos Reyes BG, Angeles ER, Khush GS: Development of monosomic alien addition lines and introgression of genes from Oryza australiensis Domin to cultivated rice, O. sativa L. Theor Appl Genet 88: 102–109 (1994).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Oka HI: Intervarietal variation and classification of cultivated rice. Ind J Genet Plant Breed 18: 79–89 (1958).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Oka HI: Origin of cultivated rice. Japan Scientific Societies Press, Tokyo. 25 pp. (1988).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Paddock W, Paddock R: Famine 1975! Little Brown and Company. Boston. 276 pp. (1967).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Porteres R: Taxonomie agrobotanique des Riz cultives, O. sativa L. et O. glaberrima. Steudel J Agr Trop Bot Appl 3: 341–856 (1956).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ramiah K: Rice in Madras — popular handbook. Government Press, Madras (1937).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Roschevitz RJ: A contribution to the knowledge of rice. Bull Appl Bot Genet Plant Breed. (Leningrad) 27(4): 1–133 (Russian with English summary) (1931).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sharma GR, Manda D: Excavations at Mahagara 1977–1978. A neolithic settlement in Belan Valley. Archeology of the Vindhyas and Ganga Valley, 6. Dept of Ancient History, Culture and Archeology. Univ of Allahabad, India (1980).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Solheim WG II: An earlier agricultural revolution. Scient Am 266(4): 34–41 (1972).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ting Y: The origin and evolution of cultivated rice in China. Acta Agron Sinica 8(3): 243–260 (In Chinese) (1957).Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Whyte RO: The Gramineae. Wild and cultivated plants of monsoonal and equatorial Asia 1. Southeast Asia. Asian Perspect 15: 127–151 (1972).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gurdev S. Khush
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biochemistry DivisionInternational Rice Research InstituteManilaPhilippines

Personalised recommendations