Background and aims Food production has to increase to meet the demand of a growing population. In light of the high energy costs and increasingly scarce resources, future agricultural systems have to be more productive and more efficient in terms of inputs such as fertilizer and water. The development of rice varieties with high yield under low-nutrient conditions has therefore become a breeding priority. The rapid progress made in sequencing and molecular-marker technology is now beginning to change the way breeding is done, providing new opportunities.
Scope Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are applied to agricultural systems in large quantities and a deficiency of either nutrient leads to yield losses and triggers complex molecular and physiological responses. The underlying genes are now being identified and studied in detail, and an increasing number of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) related to N and P uptake and utilization are being reported. Here, we provide an overview of the different aspects related to N and P in rice production systems, and apply a breeder's perspective on the potential of relevant genes and pathways for breeding applications.
Main points For the development of nutrient-efficient rice, a holistic approach should be followed combining optimized fertilizer management with enhanced nutrient uptake via a vigorous root system, leading to increased grain filling and yield. Despite an increasing number of N- and P-related genes and QTLs being reported, very few are actively used in molecular breeding programmes. The complex regulation of N- and P-related pathways challenges breeders and the research community to identify large-effect genes/QTLs. For this it will be important to focus more on the analysis of tolerant genotypes rather than model plants, since tolerance pathways may employ a different set of genes.
Vinod, K.K.; Heuer, S. Approaches towards nitrogen- and phosphorus-efficient rice. AoB PLANTS (2012) 2012: pls028. [DOI: 10.1093/aobpla/pls028]