IRRI gathers researchers to advance breeding programs around the world

Last August, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) hosted more than 40 participants from public sector breeding programs across ten countries for the Joint Breeders’ Training and Workshop, in collaboration with EiB and the Genomic Open-Source Breeding Informatics Initiative (GOBii).

The activity was an opportunity for breeders and informaticians to discuss, evaluate, and enable agricultural institutions in Asia and some parts of Africa to modernize their breeding programs.

Workshop participants display their work.

Participants at the workshop evaluated the current capacity of breeding programs and searched for ways to improve their design, receiving application-oriented training in breeding information management, sampling logistics and genomics data analysis.

Multiple service providers including IRRI Integrated Research Support, Intertek from Sweden, and Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) from Australia also participated, offering access to cutting-edge research technologies and services.

Eng Hwa (EiB) demonstrates an mobile app for seed weight data collection.

According to IRRI Assistant Scientist and workshop participant John Carlos Ignacio, “During the first day, we tried to identify the benefits and challenges of implementing analysis tools such as genomic selection. On the next day, we were engaged in more discussions on the value of centralized breeding services and high-throughput operation, followed by the current and next-generation genotyping technologies. Lastly, we focused on applied practices such as sample tracking and logistics, genotyping data visualization and analysis, and using tools for breeding quality control and decision-support.”

Participants view a field demonstration of barcode sample labelling.

Participating institutions included the World Vegetable Center, AfricaRice, Shenyang Agricultural University, Kasetsart University, the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, Philippines, the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Philippines. IRRI researchers from Burundi, Bangladesh, India, and the Philippines also attended the workshop.