The “Community of Practices” Concept applied to Rice Production in the Mekong Region


Rice Gene Discovery Unit, a specialized lab jointly set up by BIOTEC and Kasetsart University, launched the project titled “Community of Practices” Concept applied to Rice Production in the Mekong Region: Quick conversion of popular rice varieties with emphasis on drought, salinity and grain quality improvement (CoP Project), on 21 May 2007 with the arrival of 6 researchers from Cambodia (Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, CARDI), Laos (National Agricultural and Forestry Institute, NAFRI) and Myanmar (Department of Agricultural Research, DAR) as well as two Thai researchers from Ubon Ratchathani University to perform research experiments in Thailand for 2 weeks.

This project aims to promote the implementation of marker aided selection (MAS) into the current rice breeding program in the Mekong region, particularly Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar through comprehensive hands-on training program and sharing of genomic information (genetic data for several traits and the molecular markers for several genes) and research facility. The project was designed to address the limitation of short-term workshop which cannot leave participants with full understanding of the technology and lab skill as well as the limitation of research facilities in these countries. Participants get to perform the MAS breeding on their own rice varieties. The contents in the theory include the development and the investigation of genetic and genome, the DNA marker development from DNA database, DNA molecular selection, the limitation and the effectiveness of the molecular markers in the breeding program in the defensive and offensive strategies. The laboratory include the breeding plan, high throughput PCR technique, DNA analysis, molecular marker selection and the assessment in the selection effectiveness.

The first phase of this endeavor took place over the period of two years in 2004-2006 with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Kasetsart University and BIOTEC. Four sets of workshop were held in Thailand, with participants achieving BC2 and BC3 generations. CoP Project is to continue the development of backcross introgression lines for the next two years, with 3 sets of workshop planned in Thailand; one in-country workshop each in Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia; and in-country field evaluation. CoP Project is funded by the Generation Challenge Programme.


From left to right: Dr. Khun Leang Hak (CARDI), Mr. Chou Vichet (CARDI), Ms. Daw Thi Dar (DAR), Ms. Daw Tin Tin Myint (DAR), Dr. Theerayut Toojinda (Project Leader), Mr. Khemkham Hongphakdy (NAFRI) and Mr. Souvanh Thadavong (NAFRI)