Rice (Oryza sativa) is the staple food for more than 3.5 billion people worldwide. Yield levels in Asia have tripled and are expected to increase by 70% over the next 30 years due to population growth. In the US, Arkansas accounts for more than 50% of rice production. Over the last 68 years, rice production has continued to grow in Mississippi, placing it in fourth place after Arkansas, Louisiana, and California. Due to increasing rice acreage, regionally and worldwide, the need to develop abiotic stress tolerant rice has increased. Unfortunately, current rice breeding programs lack genetic diversity, and many traits have been lost through the domestication of cultivated rice. Currently, stressors stemming from the continued effects of climate change continue to impact rice. This chapter highlights current research that strives to discover abiotic and biotic stress tolerant rice. This chapter calls for directed research in genetics and genomics to address the need to discover biotic and abiotic stress tolerant traits. While many genes have been uncovered to arm rice against these stresses, decreased genetic variability in current rice traits presents a small gene pool for discovery.
Part of the book: Plant Stress Physiology