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Strategic Innovation

Research Platform

Strategic Innovation

The Strategic Innovation Platform leads the upstream, discovery science at IRRI to elaborate novel mechanisms, processes, designs, and data. With the primary thrust of discovering unique genes, genomes, genotypes, and genetic mechanisms, the Strategic Innovation Platform links genotype to phenotype and explores underpinning physiological mechanisms to feed into traits that fast track breeding.

The platform also supports translational science to sustain the breeding pipeline by developing and discovering innovative analytical tools, genetic resources, and critical traits to support IRRI's overall mandate, with a particular emphasis on new technologies, practices, and services that assist in addressing future needs from breeding, agronomic, and value chain systems.

 

Key Research Areas

Bioinformatics

Applies analytical approaches to genes, genomes, and populations and curates results; designs, implements, and evaluates in-house and public databases; and develops new tools for visualization and analysis, all of which help achieve greater breeding efficiency.

  • Support and maintain databases and interoperability
  • Undertake genome sequencing, annotation, and analysis
  • Define protein structure-function relationships
  • Adopt, develop and apply multi-omics data analysis pipelines
  • Coordinates the International Rice Informatics Consortium
  • Provides training and support for bioinformatics to internal and external clients

Future-ready genetic resources

Ensures the long-term preservation of conserved germplasm and its continued regeneration, characterization, and distribution, enabling the systematic use of rice biodiversity.

  • Routine genebank operations of conservation, curation, regeneration, safety duplication, distribution, documentation
  • Research to support efficient management of genetic resources
  • Acquiring and generating novel genetic resources
  • Estimating value for knowledge, breeding and impact
  • Policy, compliance, stewardship, intellectual assets

Applied functional genomics

Focuses on rice grain quality as value addition and enhances grain nutrition opportunities with an applied functional genomics focus. Multi-omics research is emphasized to address (i) food and nutrition security issues and (ii) climate change impacts such as temperature increases on rice yield and grain quality.

  • Multi-omics systems-genetics implication for capturing rare alleles to address gap traits through the identification of genetics (quantitative trait loci, genome wide association studies) and deploying systems biology (transcriptome-TWAS, metabolome-MWAS) based candidate gene discovery
  • Novel phenotyping methods, marker development, and genotyping platforms to support pre-breeding for grain quality and nutritional target traits
  • Grain quality improvement for nutrients, fiber, resistant starch, and glycemic index

System physiology

Contributes to climate resilience, such as the development of stress-tolerant varieties, by identifying underpinning physiological and molecular mechanisms that improve photosynthesis, root biology, and abiotic stress tolerance.

  • Enhancing photosynthetic efficiency
  • Implications of root biology
  • Understanding the interfacing effects of abiotic stress and their combinations (drought, heat, salinity, submergence, flooding)

Trait and genome engineering

Modern biotechnology genetic engineering tools and technologies deployed for validation of genes, traits, and for product development. Special emphasis is given for micronutrient improvement and essential vitamins in the milled grain.

  • Cutting edge rice transformation for indica, aus, and japonica rice
  • Cutting edge genome engineering
  • Application of trait and genome engineering to grain nutrient and micronutrient content
  • Contributing to biosafety compliance, stewardship, regulatory science and policy atmosphere internally and externally