The International Rice Informatics Consortium (IRIC) aims to provide access to well organized information about rice, and to facilitate communication and collaboration for rice community, having germplasm diversity as a focal entry point.
Information about rice genotypic and phenotypic diversity is at the core of modern approaches for rice improvement. Accelerating genetic gains in rice breeding will require full exploitation of the genetic diversity of rice and utilizing it in efficient, product-oriented breeding pipelines that address future needs.
Combination of genotyping and phenotyping data will lead to discoveries of many novel trait-loci associations. Available sequence data will provide an opportunity to predict causative gene variations which, after validation, will be the targets in breeding introgression or genetic engineering experiments.
The most comprehensive information on the genome diversity can be obtained from the DNA sequence. Progress in sequencing technologies makes it possible to sequence thousands of rice varieties and cultivars. The problem of data analysis and interpretation, however, remains the bottleneck in utilizing this information in rice improvement.
Phenotyping data have increasingly become the most valuable and expensive part of gene discovery and trait development for crop improvement. It requires a lot of time, labor and expertise to collect phenotyping data. The scope of phenotyping can be very broad and can cover hundreds of different traits. New high-throughput phenotyping technologies can significantly increase the scope, speed and data density of phenotyping.