Breeding by design for future rice: genes and genome technologies
Rice is a staple food for 3.2 billion people. The food security threat that shook many Asian countries in 2008 still looms, because farmers are facing the challenge of producing more rice with fewer resources of water, land, and inputs. The targets of rice improvement have changed from high yield alone to the combined targets of high yield, good quality, balanced nutrition, health safety, and sustainable production, especially in China . Breeding rice cultivars like green super rice (GSR) will meet such targets and increase the profit of rice production. The advances made in genetics, genomics and breeding technologies in recent decades , provide the opportunity of efficient development of future cultivars via breeding by design. In this special issue ‘‘Rice as a model crop: genetics, genomics, and breeding”, we invited 19 experts in various fields to review advances in rice genetics, genomics, and breeding technologies. There are four papers on abiotic stress tolerance, two on biotic stress resistance, four on agronomic traits, three on platforms for gene mining, one on genome selection, one on gene editing, two on genome-designed breeding, and two on rice heterosis. The aim of this special issue is to survey the major advances in rice genomics and molecular breeding technologies, especially in China. Here we summarize these papers according to the classification of topics, adding our perspectives.