The UK Rice Research Consortium.

The UK Rice Research consortium (UKRRC) has been established to highlight the breadth and quality of research in UK’s based research institutions on rice, and to provide a focal point for building new networks both within the UK and with international partners.

Analysis shows that in previous years rice has mostly been used as a model organism for basic plant research, but recently this has changed to more applied research. For much of the world’s poor, rice (O. sativa) provides the majority of daily calories. Rice productivity has more than doubled in recent decades, resulting from continued breeding efforts. However, to meet the demands imposed by the projected increase in population, rice production has to continue growing rapidly, while meeting challenges imposed by a changing climate. With the recent sequencing of >3000 different varieties, there is a huge genetic resource available for identifying polymorphisms associated with desirable traits e.g. tolerance to biotic or abiotic stress, yield, nutritional content etc., which in due course can be bred into major crop varieties.

The UKRRC is building upon genomic resources and large-scale phenotyping platforms, and works with international partners on fundamental science and applied breeding programmes to tackle food security challenges, as highlighted under Research and Partnerships.