Movement of Rice Germplasm Around the World
The strong partnership between the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) has contributed substantially to the massive movement of rice germplasm around the world from the 1960s to the present. The three major sources of rice germplasm at IRRT are the Genetic Resources Center (germplasm conservation), plant breeding programs (variety development), and the International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice (INGER). From 1989 to 2002, 1.2 million seed packets were distributed by IRRT with 75% going to 38 countries in Asia.
In 1975, INGER was established by IRRT as a global partnership between NARES and International Agricultural Research Centers. It is the major vehicle for worldwide sharing of superior rice genetic resources from various parts of the world. INGER has received around 23,000 unique materials since 1975, at least half of which were from NARS. Over a period of 29 years, INGER has dispatched around 2.7 million seed packets of some 46,000 test entries. Some 62 NARS have released 213, 151, and 272 varieties that could be traced back to IRRT, other IARCs, and 29 NARS, respectively. Direct utilization of introduced varieties has shortened the time involved in variety development, saved a lot of resources for NARS, and hastened the flow of materials from research station to farmers’ fields. Thousands of INGER-distributed germplasm have been used by NARS as parents in crosses to improve the performance of their local varieties. New varieties generated have more diverse and complex genealogies. Genetic materials distributed by INGER are accompanied by Material Transfer Agreements. The major challenges facing international exchange of germplasm are emerging intellectual property rights legislations and sui generis plant variety protection laws.
KeywordsIntellectual Property Right International Rice Research Institute Direct Utilization Rice Germplasm Rice Breeding Program
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