The first volume of the Rice Genetics Newsletter is dedicated to: the late Dr. T. Morinaga, Dr. K. Ramiah, Dr. N. E. Jodon, and Dr. S. Nagao
N. E. Jodon
Toshitaro Morinaga was born on September 13, 1985 at Uozu, Toyama, Japan, and graduated from the College of Agriculture, Tokyo Imperial University in 1919. He was an outstanding geneti cist and plant breeder who made major contributions to our understanding of rice genetics, cytoge netics, cytotaxonomy and origin of cultivated rice. The first haploid plant of rice was obtained by him in 1930. He obtained rice triploids from the reciprocal crosses between diploid and tetraploid plants and isolated 8 trisomics from the progenies of triploids.
On the basis of cytogenetic analysis of interspecific hybrids, Dr. Morinaga proposed that Oryza sativa, O. officinalis, O. minuta and O. latifolia be assigned the genome symbols of AA, CC, BBCC and CCDD, respectively. He also concluded that although O. sativa and O. glaberrima have the same genome, they should be considered as distinct species. He classified the tropical rice cultivars into five ecotypes, namely, aus, aman, boro, bulu and tjereh, and hypothesized that the primary center of diversity of rice is in the region immediately to the southeast of Himalayas.
Dr. Morinaga detected linkage between genes for purple leaf color and liguleless condition in 1933 and studied linkage relations between many rice markers in subsequent years.
Dr. Morinaga trained numerous agricultural scientists when he was Professor at Kyushu University (1940-1951) and provided leadership in developing agricultural sciences as director of Central Agricultural Experiment Station (1946-1950) and as director of National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (1954-1961). He was a member of japan Academy and the first president of the Japanese Society of Breeding. He passed in 1980 at Tokyo.
Dr. K. Ramiah
Dr. Krishnaswami Ramiah, a world renowned rice breeder and geneticist was born in 1892. He began his scientific career in 1914 when he joined the staff of the Paddy Breeding Station, Coimbatore. He was the first scientist in India to begin the systematic hybridization programme in rice. Prior the first crosses he made in 1917-18, rice varietal improvement in India was mainly limited to pureline selection. Dr. Ramiah was deeply interested not only in varietal improvement but in understanding the genetic basis of yield, pest resistance and grain quality. Soon after the discovery of Muller and Stadler of the mutation-inducing properties of X-rays, he initiated studies on X-ray induced variability in rice.
Dr. Ramiah was the founder director of the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack. In 1949, he led the FAO-sponsored International Rice Commission. He inspired the FAO sponsored program on indica-japonica hybridization for developing nitrogen responsive varieties of rice for the tropics which resulted in the release of Mahsuri and Malinja in Malaysia and ADT 27 in India.
As FAO expert with headquarters in Bangkok, Dr. Ramiah travelled widely in rice growing countries and stimulated Government support for rice research and development. Dr. Ramiah is the author of Rice in Madras and Rice Breeding and Genetics. He was the first geneticist who advocated the standardization of gene symbols in rice. Dr. Ramiah has received numerous honors nationally and internationally.
(M. S. Swaminathan)
Dr. Nelson E. Jodon
Nelson Edgar Jodon was born on March 2, 1903 in a farmhouse near Sandusky, Ohio, USA. He graduated with honors from the College of Agriculture, University of Nebraska in 1929. He was appointed USDA Junior Agronomist and stationed at North Platte, Nebraska. He received the M. Sc. degree from the University of Nebraska in 1932 and later studied at Cornell University and University of Minnesota. In 1933, he was transferred to Rice Research Station, Crowley, Louisiana, where he engaged in rice varietal improvement work for over half a century. He developed several important rice varieties such as Magnolia, Lacrosse, Nato, Saturn, Della, Toro, LA11O and Toro 2.
Concurrently, he pioneered the studies on linkage groups of rice. He collected very useful marker gene stocks which included a set of linkage testers for 11 of the 12 linkage groups. His was the only collection of rice mutants in the USA. He also pioneered the studies on inheritance of disease resistance in rice.
At the invitation of FAO and in collaboration with R. Seethraman,
M. Takahashi and others he prepared a proposal for the standardization of gene
symbols in rice. This proposal was dis cussed and accepted at the 1959 meeting
of the Working Party on Rice Production and Protection of the International Rice
Commission held at Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He also participated in the symposium
on Rice Genetics held in 1963 at IRRI and the XIIth International Congress of
Genetics held in 1968 at Tokyo and coordinated efforts to standardize the rice
gene symbols internationally. In recognition of his outstanding contributions
to rice genetics and breeding, Louisiana State Uni versity honored Dr. Jodon by
conferring upon him the Doctor of Science degree. He is also the recipient of
11 other awards.
(M. Takahashi) Dr. S. Nagao
Dr. S. Nagao
Seijin Nagao was born in 1901 in Tokyo. He was the eldest son of Uzan Nagao, an eminent scholar of Chinese classics. He majored in plant breeding at the Agricultural College of Hokkaido Imperial University, and continued research in cytogenetics at Kyoto University as a graduate student. He obtained doctor's degree in science in 1933 with a thesis on polyploidy in narcissus which was considered a pioneering work on cytology of triploids.
Dr. Nagao joined the faculty of the Hokkaido University in 1935 as associate professor and was promoted to professor in 1939. He published "Genetics and Breeding in Rice" in 1935 which was the first book on rice genetics in Japan. In this book he proposed standardization of gene symbols. He started investigations on gene analysis in rice as one of main research activities of the Plant Breeding Institute. His earlier work was published in Advances in Genetics, Vol. 4 (1951), entitled "Genic analysis and linkage relationship of characters in rice". The genes for coloration of organs reported by him became widely known and were often used as markers in linkage studies. In 1963 he coauthored "Trial construction of twelve linkage groups in Japanese rice" with Manemon Takahashi. Dr. Nagao received the Japan Academy Prize in 1965, and was elected to be academician in 1973.