Making use of over 12,000 EMS mutant lines we generated in two elite Japonica rice cultivars Hitomebore and Sasanishiki, as well as utilizing the diversity present in cultivated and wild rice species, our goals is to isolate and characterize genes and QTLs controlling important traits such as plant architecture (eg. semi-dwarfism), disease resistance, salt tolerance, low temperature tolerance, drought tolerance, and tolerance to anoxia conditions in rice.
Our approach combines the classical map-based cloning and QTL mapping techniques with the power of next generation sequencing to accelerate the isolation of key genes.
To facilitate utilization of our mutant lines and the natural variation in Oryza species for rice improvement, we are currently engaged in developing novel methodologies that make use of illumina whole genome sequencing technology for rapid isolation of important genes and QTLs. The recently published MutMap method is an example to this end.
Through the close collaboration with the Iwate Agricultural Research Center (IARC), our group has access to a large rice paddy field for conducting field trials. This has greatly facilitated the large-scale screening of mutant lines, as well as the extensive growing and phenotyping of mapping populations (F2, RILs, BILs, and NAM).