Written by Web Team
The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are ensuring the good field performance of irrigated lowland varieties across the country through multi-environment trials (MET) at PhilRice stations in Nueva Ecija, Isabela, and Agusan.
MET, a function of the International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice (INGER), is being conducted to validate the adaptability and quality of rice lines before they advance to the National Cooperative Testing (NCT).
Recently, PhilRice and IRRI researchers assessed about 900 varietal lines in terms of on-site pest resistance and phenotypic acceptability such as good standing crop and filled grains. About 50 researchers from PhilRice and IRRI evaluated the rice lines being tested at PhilRice stations across the country.
Dr. Edilberto D. Redoña, IRRI scientist and project leader of INGER – the 36-year-old network of the world’s rice varietal improvement programs, said MET ensures wide adaptation of irrigated lowland rice varieties developed by PhilRice and IRRI as the genetic traits of rice lines are tested in more environments.
“Traditionally, elite lines are evaluated in one location only. When we assess varieties in just one location, the performance of the variety could not be fairly generalized. We know that some released varieties may be good at one location but perform poorly in other sites. MET will try to bridge this gap in testing rice lines,” Redoña said.
The first monitoring and assessment tour at PhilRice station in Nueva Ecija screened 900 lines from which 20-30 percent or about 300 lines will again be tested in other locations across the country.
“The screening of the varieties involves an inverted pyramid scheme. From many varietal lines, only about 10 varieties will be recommended to NCT,” Redoña said.
The 900 lines include both inbred and hybrid lines, in which 200 of the lines were PhilRice-bred.
“Through MET, we may increase the yields of irrigated lowland varieties, which have reached plateau or are stagnating since 1980s,” Redoña said.