Heirloom Rices a Repertoire of Genetic Wealth

Photo: Prasad

Heirloom rice varieties are embedded in the social, cultural and religious lives of many Asian societies due to their unique features and medicinal and nutritional virtues.

Abstract: With 3000 genomes of rice varieties now sequenced, plant breeders are identifying new genes for traits such as better grain quality, yield, nutrition and biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. Working with partners, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) at IRRI-SARC are prioritising this research.

The authors are Head, Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition, IRRI South Asia Regional Centre; Senior Scientist, Human Nutrition IRRI ; and, Theme Leader-Enabling Technologies, Grain Quality & Nutrition IRRI, Philippines; respectively. a.regina@irri.org. The article should be cited as Regina A., C. Acuin & N. Sreenivasulu, 2019. Heirloom Rices: A Repertoire of Genetic Wealth, Geography and You, 19(24): 48-53

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Anthropogenic activities mean human activities which affect nature. These activities cause changes in nature which would not have been possible without human influence.

Bio-fortification is the process by which nutrient levels in crops is improved during plant growth rather than during processing of the crops.

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Food deficit is defined as the intensity of food deprivation in a country. Intensity of food deprivation is the number of people whose dietary intake falls short of the minimum requirement.

The Green Revolution is an umbrella term for a number of successful agricultural experiments in the 1960’s that drastically improved agricultural production, especially in developing countries.

Groundwater is water that seeps into the ground and accumulates underneath. Groundwater depletion is the result of long-term water-level declines caused by sustained and unrestrained groundwater pumping.

A landrace is an agricultural plant species that has been grown in a specific local environment over a long period of time and has adapted to the environmental conditions of the area of cultivation.

The term micronutrient is used to describe vitamins and minerals as opposed to macronutrients which include proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The human body requires smaller amounts of micronutrients relative to macronutrients.

Stunting is the impaired growth and development of children mostly due to poor nutrition. 38 per cent of Indian children younger than 5 years of age are stunted.

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