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Open AccessReview

The 21st Century Agriculture: When Rice Research Draws Attention to Climate Variability and How Weedy Rice and Underutilized Grains Come in Handy

1
Functional Omics and Bioprocess Development Laboratory, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
2
The Centre for Research in Biotechnology for Agriculture, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
3
Institute of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
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School of Plant, Environmental, and Soil Science, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(3), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030365
Received: 15 February 2020 / Revised: 10 March 2020 / Accepted: 13 March 2020 / Published: 16 March 2020
Rice, the first crop to be fully sequenced and annotated in the mid-2000s, is an excellent model species for crop research due mainly to its relatively small genome and rich genetic diversity. The 130-million-year-old cereal came into the limelight in the 1960s when the semi-dwarfing gene sd-1, better known as the “green revolution” gene, resulted in the establishment of a high-yielding semi-dwarf variety IR8. Deemed as the miracle rice, IR8 saved millions of lives and revolutionized irrigated rice farming particularly in the tropics. The technology, however, spurred some unintended negative consequences, especially in prompting ubiquitous monoculture systems that increase agricultural vulnerability to extreme weather events and climate variability. One feasible way to incorporate resilience in modern rice varieties with narrow genetic backgrounds is by introgressing alleles from the germplasm of its weedy and wild relatives, or perhaps from the suitable underutilized species that harbor novel genes responsive to various biotic and abiotic stresses. This review reminisces the fascinating half-century journey of rice research and highlights the potential utilization of weedy rice and underutilized grains in modern breeding programs. Other possible alternatives to improve the sustainability of crop production systems in a changing climate are also discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; food security; green revolution; modern rice; underutilized grains; weedy rice climate change; food security; green revolution; modern rice; underutilized grains; weedy rice
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mohd Hanafiah, N.; Mispan, M.S.; Lim, P.E.; Baisakh, N.; Cheng, A. The 21st Century Agriculture: When Rice Research Draws Attention to Climate Variability and How Weedy Rice and Underutilized Grains Come in Handy. Plants 2020, 9, 365. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030365

AMA Style

Mohd Hanafiah N, Mispan MS, Lim PE, Baisakh N, Cheng A. The 21st Century Agriculture: When Rice Research Draws Attention to Climate Variability and How Weedy Rice and Underutilized Grains Come in Handy. Plants. 2020; 9(3):365. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030365

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mohd Hanafiah, Noraikim; Mispan, Muhamad S.; Lim, Phaik E.; Baisakh, Niranjan; Cheng, Acga. 2020. "The 21st Century Agriculture: When Rice Research Draws Attention to Climate Variability and How Weedy Rice and Underutilized Grains Come in Handy" Plants 9, no. 3: 365. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030365

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