Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the staple food of the majority of Indians, and India is both the major producer and consumer of rice. Rice cultivation in India is confronted with diverse agro-climatic conditions, varying soil types, and several biotic and abiotic constraints. Among major fungal diseases of Rice in India, the blast caused by Magnaporthe oryzae is the most devastating disease, with the neck blast being the most destructive form. Most of the blast epidemic areas in India have been identified with a mixture of races blast fungus resulting in the resistance breakdown in a short period. At present, a more significant number of the rice varieties cultivated in India were bred by conventional breeding methods with blast resistance conferred by a single resistance gene. Therefore, the blast disease in India is predominantly addressed by the use of ecologically toxic fungicides. In line with the rest of the world, the Indian scientific community has proven its role by identifying several blast resistance genes and successfully pyramiding multiple blast resistance genes. Despite the wealth of information on resistance genes and the availability of biotechnology tools, not a great number of rice varieties in India harbor multiple resistance genes. In the recent past, a shift in the management of blast disease in India has been witnessed with a greater focus on basic research and modern breeding tools such as marker-assisted selection, marker-assisted backcross breeding, and gene pyramiding.
Part of the book: Integrative Advances in Rice Research