Molecular Breeding Course

During the last few decades, world rice production has doubled from 257 to 600 million tons. This has mainly been achieved through the application of conventional plant breeding methods coupled with improved production technologies. We need to produce 25% more rice by 2025 to match the growing population. Moreover, this increase in rice production has to come with less land, less water, less chemicals and less labor. Furthermore, many biotic and abiotic stresses are a continuing threat to rice productivity and sustainability. The major challenge is to overcome these constraints and produce high yielding rice varieties with multiple resistances to biotic and abiotic stresses possessing improved grain quality and nutritive value. Recent advances in rice biotechnology, particularly in molecular biology and genomics, offer new opportunities to overcome some of these constraints limiting rice production. Molecular breeding approaches are becoming increasingly important in the hands of plant breeders to accelerate breeding programs particularly where agronomic traits are highly influenced by the environment and are difficult to select through conventional breeding.

The Rice Molecular Breeding Course will ensure that participants are up-to-date with the latest advances in molecular technologies and application of marker-assisted selection in modern rice breeding, and have acquired competency in the associated laboratory skills. The 12-day residential course will be conducted at IRRI Headquarters, Los Baños, Philippines making use of the state-of-the-art technologies at IRRI and the extensive training facilities.


To provide hands-on training and enhance the capability of rice scientists to apply molecular technologies into on-going rice breeding programs aimed at developing high yielding varieties resistant to various biotic and abiotic stresses with improved grain and nutritional quality.


During this course, participants will:
  • Learn the basic principles and theory of marker-assisted selection (MAS) in modern rice breeding;
  • review case studies of the application of molecular breeding in rice;
  • acquire essential laboratory and data analysis skills necessary for conducting MAS in a breeding program; and
  • develop proposals for future molecular breeding programs.

The Molecular Breeding Course will include hands-on laboratory training, working in small groups with assistance of IRRI staff, and will raise participants’ practical skill levels in:
  • High throughput DNA extraction, DNA quantification and quality determination using agarose gel electrophoresis;
  • molecular marker genotyping for SSR markers: running PCR, polyacrylamide
  • gel electrophoresis (PAGE); gel imaging and scoring;
  • overview of automated genotyping of SNP markers;
  • data analysis of given mapping populations for bacterial blight resistance, submergence tolerance and using MAS in transgenic breeding;
  • combining phenotypic and genotypic data for MAS, and
  • QTL analysis using single marker analysis, simple and composite interval mapping.
Case studies of the application of QTL mapping for marker-assisted selection for drought tolerance in rice, pyramiding of genes for BB resistance, transfer of Sub 1 for submergence tolerance, and the transfer of golden rice traits into high yielding rice cultivars.

Participants will also share their own experiences on molecular marker technologies and will be guided in planning molecular breeding programs, establishing and managing laboratory facilities, and preparing proposals that attract donor funding.


September 22-October 3, 2014
International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines


For further information on the program, contact

Dr. Joong Hyoun Chin
Scientist, Molecular Breeder for Abiotic Stress Tolerant
Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division

to enroll for the course, contact

Dr. Noel Magor
Head, Training Center
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila, Philippines
Fax: (63-2) 891-1292; 580 5699
Phone: (63-2) 845-0563; 580 5600