The Rice Gene Discovery Laboratory was established in 2001 through close collaboration between BIOTEC and Kasetsart University. The Unit aims to utilize biotechnology as a tool for making improvements in Thai rice.

Research Scope

  • Functional Genomics. Two approaches have been implemented; one is to use the transgenic approach and RNAi for overexpression or co-suppression of the candidate genes and the other is using whole-genome mutagenesis called TILLING.
  • Gene Discovery and Map-based Cloning. This topic involves the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) and genes underlying 16 target traits associated with resistance to disease and pests such as blast, bacterial blight and brown planthopper, as well as tolerance to environmental stresses such as drought, flood and salinity. 
  • Molecular Genetics. This topic involves the study of genes controlling plant, flower and seed development to increase rice yield, as well as molecular mechanisms controlling plant growth and plant response to different environments.
  • Bioinformatics. This includes the development and curation of a public resource for the rice genomic and bioinformatics software and platform called RiceGeneThresher. RiceGeneThresher provides full access to an integrated multiplatform relational database of heterogeneous rice genome resources for decision-making and candidate gene selection, as well as tools from microarray analysis.
  • Molecular Breeding. This involves the implementation of marker-assisted selection (MAS) for the desired traits in the breeding program of Thai rice cultivars, such as KDML 105 (jasmine rice) and RD 6 (glutinous rice).


  • Discovery of genes responsible for producing aroma in rice (Patent obtained in the US, Australia, Japan, Vietnam, France and Europe. Patent pending in China, the Philippines and India).
  • RiceGeneTresher: A web-based application for mining genes underlying QTL in the rice genome.
  • New improved rice varieties that have been released to farmers such as certified RD51 (flash flooding tolerance), Kaew Kaset (blast resistance and non-photoperiod sensitivity), Homcholasit (flash flooding tolerance and non-photoperiod sensitivity), Thanyasirin (blast resistant glutinous rice) and glutinous rice with blast and bacterial blight resistance. 
  • Implementing molecular rice breeding program in Mekong Region since 2004, a program to build up capacity in marker-assisted selection technology for rice breeders in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Major Equipment and Facilities

  • Gel and blot imaging & analysis
  • PCR machine
  • Gel electrophoresis
  • Refrigerated centrifuge
  • Greenhouse
  • Extensive tissue culture facilities
  • Rice breeding facilities
  • Seed storage chamber
  • Dark room facilities 
  • 100-hectare trial fields


Assoc. Prof. Apichart Vanavichit

Contact Address

Rice Gene Discovery Laboratory
Kasetsart University, Kamphaengsaen
Nakorn Pathom 73140 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 3435 5193
Fax: +66 (0) 3435 5197
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