Fingerprinting Helps Ease Rice Breeding
Plant breeding and biotechnology researchers at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are using DNA fingerprinting.
Rice breeders disclose that fingerprinting, used to characterize a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) which contains the heritable characteristics of an organism, is essential for crop breeding.
The paper Genetic fingerprinting: Advancing the frontiers of crop biology research, by Dr. Gabriel Romero, Cheryl Adeva, and Zosimo Battad II explains that fingerprinting helps breeders select the traits they need to develop new varieties.
Dr. Romero said the advent of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and molecular marker technology ushered the way to a more convenient analysis of DNA variation.
In their paper, it is stated that PCR brought a new class of DNA profiling markers for fingerprinting and later became a major tool in biotechnology research and product development worldwide.
“Molecular marker technology engages the application of different types of DNA-based molecular markers in various fields such as taxonomy, physiology, breeding, genetics, and plant genetic resources,” Dr. Dindo Tabanao, a molecular geneticist said.
DNA-based markers include restriction fragment length polymorphism, random amplified polymorphic DNA, simple sequence repeat or microsatellite, amplified fragment length polymorphism, and cleaved amplified polymorphic DNA.
Dr. Tabanao said these markers are proven to be effective in DNA fingerprinting analysis to assess genetic relationships and to differentiate varieties from each other.
Genetic fingerprinting can be used in taxon identification and phylogeny, diversity analysis, hybridity testing, gene mapping, marker-aided introgression, somaclonal variation and patenting, rice breeders said.
“It traces even the historical background of a particular seed,” they added.
Also, it decodes the traits of a variety and guides breeders in selecting the traits the scientists can transfer to another variety.
It is also proven that genetic fingerprinting is useful in gene banking, a conservation act and maintenance of varieties, since pests and diseases may attack at any unforeseen time.
To address the need in upgrading knowledge in rice biotechnology, Phil-Rice conducted a five-day training course on DNA fingerprinting last July 19-25, 2009 at PhilRice Central Experiment Station, Maligaya, Munoz, Nueva Ecija. Through lectures and laboratory exercises, the training introduced the basic concepts and techniques involved in using molecular markers and DNA fingerprinting.
What began as a human profiling tool is now a prominent fixture in almost all areas of basic and applied biology including agriculture. Thus, marks the beginning of another breakthrough in rice research.
By Maria Adrielle D. Solsoloy