Himalayan News Service

Hyderabad, February 21

Indian scientists here have developed a high-yielding, disease-resistant variety of rice that is expected to benefit farmers in three southern states.

This was done by applying DNA-marker technology that allowed the selection of disease-resistant genes for introduction in a high-yielding rice variety. The premier biotechnology institute, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), in collaboration with the Directorate of Rice Research (DRR) has developed this variety of rice, a CCMB official said yesterday.

This is expected to benefit farmers in three southern Indian states growing a high-yielding strain, which is, however, susceptible to several pests and diseases.

The Samba Mashuri variety, also known as BPT5204, is famous for its high yield and

excellent cooking quality and is cultivated in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and other states.

But the variety is susceptible to diseases, mainly Bacterial Leaf Blight (BLB), which causes leaves to dry up and leads to 15 to 30 per cent crop loss.

The three-year-long research work done by scientists at CCMB and DRR with the help of the National Agriculture Technology Project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) led to the development of disease-resistant varieties of Samba Mashuri and another variety Triguna.

Ramesh V Sonti of CCMB told a news conference here that by back crossing three disease-resistant genes of a rice variety, SS1113 were transferred into Samba Mashuri.

The genes of the variety, which is generally not cultivated, were retained in Samba Mashuri without in any way affecting its yield or quality.