SpeedFlower: a comprehensive speed breeding protocol for indica and japonica rice

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SpeedFlower for indica and japonica rice offers a promising solution for addressing the limitations of longer generation times and seasonal constraints. The reduction in generation times by almost half can result in a faster varietal release process and ultimately increase in genetic gain. The speed breeding protocol can enable the development of new high-yielding rice varieties in a much shorter duration, ultimately contributing to global food security.

The rate of genetic gain attained in major agricultural crops thus far is inadequate to satisfy the necessary food demands. The average estimated rate of genetic gain in rice drought breeding programs is 0.13% (2.29 kg/ha/year), while in irrigated breeding programs, it is 0.23% (8.75 kg/ha/year). However, these rates are insufficient to meet the increasing future demands for rice with a growing population.

The Breeder’s equation suggests that genetic gain can be enhanced by improving additive genetic variation within the population (ra), increasing selection intensity (i), and improving selection accuracy (r), while decreasing the generation time (l ) required to achieve the desired outcome (DG = (ra) (i)(r)/l ). It is generally considered that one of the simplest ways to increase genetic gain is to reduce the time of the breeding cycle.

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