Rice cultivars with health traits are vital to meet the dietary demands of the growing global population much affected by non-communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Rice in the human diet greatly serves underprivileged populations in Asia as a means of nutritional replenishment for energy and protein as well serving as a vehicle for micronutrient fortification.
The introduction of genes from wild sources is one approach to further improve yield and yield related traits besides grain quality, resistance to biotic and abiotic stress which has been demonstrated in many crop species. Besides agronomic traits, rice breeding and improvement programs play a major role in safeguarding the food environment by taking into account traits that will improve rice quality in terms of glycaemic index (GI) as well as micronutrient capacity. Successful transfer of favourable wild alleles from O. rufipogon into O. sativa and development of an advanced breeding line with high yield, disease resistance, low GI and high zinc which has been commercialised will be presented in this talk.