Rice Breeding Course


One of the five core goals of the new IRRI Strategic Plan (2007-2015) is to develop the next generation of rice scientists. This is particularly needed in the field of rice breeding.   The number of rice breeders has decreased over the years, and those that remain need to combine their traditional breeding skills with new pre-breeding concepts and precision tools afforded by advances in rice genomics and information technology. Meanwhile, breeding varieties that are adoptable by farmers remains a major challenge, along with the dwindling funds for breeding research. This situation demands maximum impact from rice breeding using limited resources.


This training course aims to
  • provide the participants with the theoretical knowledge on modern plant breeding methods and techniques;
  • teach them planning and information management tools and experimental techniques and software for developing an efficient rice breeding program;
  • give the participants the opportunity to share experiences and lessons with breeders from other programs; and
  • share to the participants the information on the latest developments relevant to modern rice breeding and the worldwide exchange of rice genetic resources.
The course will be coordinated by the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Division (PBGB) and facilitated by the Training Center of IRRI. Modules will be developed mainly by IRRI scientists.


The training will use various approaches: interactive lectures with discussions, hands-on learning skill and methods for breeding, group learning exercises and discussions, presentations on country/institutional breeding programs, field and laboratory visits, post-training action plan development and a field trip to observe breeding programs in the Philippines.

Target Audience

The course is targeted at breeders and agronomists working on variety development or cultivar testing, and at research managers with responsibility for rice breeding programs in the private,  public, and NGO sectors.

Course Content

•    Introduction to breeding program planning;
•    Setting goals and identifying the target environment;
•    Information management for pedigree, bulk, and RGA breeding programs;
•    Factors affecting the adoption of improved varieties;
•    Factors affecting selection response;
•    Choosing parents;
•    Efficient approaches to pedigree, bulk, and RGA selection;
•    Breeding Information Management System (BIMS);
•    Managing plant breeding data with the International Rice Information System (IRIS);
•    Quality evaluation;
•    Screening for biotic stress resistance;
•    Screening for abiotic stress tolerance;
•    Experimental designs for controlling field variability;
•    Multi-environmental trials – design and analysis;
•    Participatory varietal selection and participatory plant breeding;
•    QTL analysis and molecular marker-aided selection;
•    International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and worldwide exchange and utilization of rice genetic resources;
•    Intellectual property rights/plant variety protection; and
•    Development and presentation of action plans for increasing the impact of participants’ programs.

Independent Planning Activity

Each participant will develop and present a plan for increasing the impact or efficiency of the breeding program of his/her institution/country, including envisioned future collaborative activities with IRRI.

Date & Venue

March 16-27, 2015
International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

Contact Information

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 ext 2538
E-mail: IRRITraining@irri.org