PhD research: Genetic diversity and blast resistance in African cultivated rice (Oryza glaberrima Steud.): some considerations for research, breeding, and valorization

October 2014 to September 2019
rice disease
genetic resistance
University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin)
Africa Rice Center (Senegal)
Research fields
Agriculture and Food Sciences

Blast is the most widespread rice disease causing significant yield losses worldwide. The spread of damage caused by rice blast has been widely reported in Africa including Benin where blast threats could become more important in future, because of the popularity of certain susceptible cultivars and the spontaneous development of recently documented new pathogenic races. For effective management of this disease, several methods are used among which the use of genetic resistance has been, and will continue to be, the most sustainable one. Here we presented characterization studies of selected O. glaberrima accessions for exploring their genetic diversity, blast resistance and yield performance. It is expected the obtained results to be used in forthcoming rice breeding programs. Our results evidenced high levels of genetic diversity within the germplasm studied. We found that at least eight O. glaberrima rice accessions that have good yield potential possess strong resistance to all blast pathotypes occurring in Benin.  Benin national research institutes can use these accessions directly without any further improvement by promoting them for general cultivation. Moreover, in our study, drought and flood tolerance genes were identified which can be combined to develop more productive and blast resistant varieties.