The need for an international organization for promoting the cause of rice genetics has been felt for many years. Considerable correspondence took place between Japanese (H. I. Oka, Y. Futsuhara, and T. Kinoshita) and IRRI (M.S. Swaminathan and G.S. Khush) scientists during 1982 and 1983 in this regard. On the basis of this correspondence a discussion paper entitled "Proposal for organizing a Rice Genetics Cooperative (RGC)" was prepared and distributed to the symposium participants in the opening session of the symposium on May 27, 1985. The text of the discussion paper is given in Appendix I.
Informal consultations were held with many participants during the first two days of the symposium regarding the need, aims and by-laws of Rice Genetics Cooperative. Group discussion was held in the evening of May 28 at the residence of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan which was attended by:
Based on these discussions, a draft of covenant and by-laws for the Rice Genetics Cooperative was prepared and distributed to the participants. An adhoc committee under the chairmanship of Professor C.M. Rick to suggest a uniform system of numbering rice chromosomes was also set up, and the committee met in the evening of May 29 (the report in the following chapter).
A nominating committee under the chairmanship of Professor T. Matsuo was set up to recommend the names of scientists who could serve on different standing committees of the Rice Genetics Cooperative. The nominating committee met on May 30 at noon and proposed the names of 14 scientists as members of the Coordinating Committee of Rice Genetics Cooperative.
The reports of these committees were presented to the participants during closing session of the symposium in the morning of May 31, 1985. These reports and the covenant and by-laws of RGC were accepted by the participants and led to the birth of Rice Genetics Cooperative.
The first meeting of the coordinating committee of the RGC was held at IRRI in the afternoon of May 31. Office bearers of the RGC and convenors and members of standing committees were elected. The convenant and by-laws, and the committee members appointed are given in the followings.
Appendix I: Proposal for organizing a Rice Genetics Cooperative (RGC)
The standardization of gene symbols has been an important concern of rice geneticists since the early days. The rapid generation of new information on rice genetics in recent years has resulted in the use of different symbols for the same genes and the same symbols for different genes. It has also brought about different systems of numbering of the chromosomes.
To promote cooperation among rice workers in the adoption of uniform gene symbols and in other areas of rice genetics, an interim committee of Japanese scientists was organized in 1979, and has continued working until today. However, the need for the establishment of an international organization has been felt increasingly by the members. Through discussions among Drs. M.S. Swaminathan, G.S. Khush, H.I. Oka, T. Kinoshita, Y. Futsuhara, and other colleagues, it was agreed to publish the first issue of the Rice Genetics Newsletter (RGN) in 1984 and to hold the International Rice Genetics Symposium (IRGS) in May 1985, as are mentioned in retrospect by Dr. T. Matsuo in the Foreword of RGN Vol. 1.
RGN Vol. 1 was published in November 1984 under the sponsorship of the Japanese Rice Genetics Information Committee with the generous financial support of the Tropical Agriculture Research Center, MAFF, Japan. In his Foreword, Dr. T. Matsuo has stressed the need for an international organization for the long term management and publication of RGN. It is hoped that during the IRGS, world rice geneticists will establish a Rice Genetics Cooperative (RGC) to assume responsibility for publishing the RGN.
The RGC, herewith proposed, is a group of scientists who have a common interest in rice genetics and who are organized for the purpose of exchanging information and genetic stocks. The main function of the RGC will be to compile and to distribute to members annual issues of RGN, to monitor rice gene symbolization and chromosome mapping, to foster cooperation in genetic engineering research, and to organize a network of scientists to facilitate maintenance and exchange of information and genetic stocks among the scientists.
Apparently, the success of this work depends upon concerted efforts of rice geneticists of the world. We now ask for your cooperation in this activity. A tentative draft of the Covenant and By-Laws is presented for your consideration. Signed by: M.S. Swaminathan, T. Matsuo, M. Takahashi, G.S. Khush, H.I. Oka, Y. Futsuhara, and T. Kinoshita
2. Covenant and By-Laws of Rice Genetics Cooperative
I. Organization and purpose
The Rice Genetics Cooperative (herinafter designated as RGC) is an informal, incorporated scientific society intended for the advancement of research in the field of rice genetics and its applications to rice improvement.
The major purposes of RGC will be the following:
a)To foster cooperative research on all aspects of rice genetics with a view to promote rice improvement
b)To develop standard rules for gene symbolization and nomenclature, and to prepare and continuously update linkage maps and develop a standard system of numbering of chromosomes
c)To ensure the proper maintenance of genetic and chromosome markers including trisomics and translocation stocks and to facilitate their availability to interested researchers through the dissemination of information.
d)To monitor and promote the application of genetic engineering and tissue culture techniques
e)To organize an International Rice Genetics Symposium (IRGC) at periodic intervals
f)To assume responsibility for publishing the Rice Genetics Newsletter (RGN)
II. Membership and dues
The membership of the RGC shall consist of the following two categories:
a)Individual Members: All scientists interested in rice genetics are eligible to join.
b)Corporate Members: Institutes and organizations interested in rice genetics.
Membership admissions will be made by the Secretaries of the Coordinating Committee. The annual dues will be fixed by the Coordinating Committee, and will be submitted for approval by the general meeting of the RGC or by correspondence among the members. The initial subscription will be US$4 per year for individual members and $100 per year for Corporate Members.
The Coordinating Committee will be in over-all charge of the prices and programs of the RGC. It shall consist of fifteen members including the Chairman, Co Chairman, Secretaries, Treasurer, and Editors. Five members will represent the major rice growing regions and will be drawn from Africa, Latin America, North America, Europe and Oceania. No separate representation is indicated for Asia, since it is expected that many of the office-bearers will be from Asia. The coordinating Committee will be responsible for organizing the International Rice Genetics Symposium.
The Coordinating Committee will be supported by the following four Standing Committees, each consisting of five members with a Convenor:
1. Committee on Gene Symbolization, Nomenclature and Linkage Groups: This Committee will help to promote the use of standard gene symbols and chromosome numbering.
2. Committee on Genetic Stocks: This Committee will help to keep records on genetic stocks with marker genes, chromosomal alterations, and other hereditary modifications maintained in different laboratories. It shall promote exchange of genetic stocks among rice geneticists of the world.
3. Committee on Genetic Engineering: This Committee will promote exchange of information on DNA vectors, cloned genes and gene libraries and monitor progress in this fast moving field.
4. Committee on Publication of RGN: This Committee will serve as the International Editorial Board for RGN.
In addition, Adhoc Committees may be set up by the Coordinating Committee from time to time for special purposes.
IV. Election and appointment of Committees
The Chairmen and Members of the Coordinating Committee shall be elected for five year terms by voting at the general conference of the RGC or by correspondence among the members. The Chairmen and members of other committees shall be appointed by the Coordinating Committee. The initial Coordinating Committee will be established during the International Rice Genetics Symposium at IRRI in May 1985.
One of the main functions of the RGC shall be to issue the RGN between October to December of each year for distribution among members. The RGN shall contain (a) special notices and announcements, (b) current linkage maps, (c) list of genes and genetic stocks newly reported, (d) list of recent publications on rice genetics, (e) research notes, and (f) membership list. Convenors of the four Standing Committees will send reports for publication in each issue of RGN. The RGN will be distributed free among Individual and Corporate Members and can be subscribed by institutional libraries at a price to be determined by the Coordinating Committee.
Meetings of committee members shall be held at such times and places as determined by the Coordinating Committee. The meetings shall be announced and main conclusions reached will be reported in the RGN.
A general conference of the members in the form of an International Rice Genetics Symposium shall be held at suitable intervals as determined by the Coordinating Committee. Initially, it is planned to organize an IRGS once in 5 years.
These By-Laws may be amended by simple majority of voting members by mail ballot, provided a copy of the proposed amendment has been mailed to all the active members at least 60 days prior to the balloting deadline set by the Secretaries.
VIII. General Prohibitions
The RGC shall be organized and operated exclusively for scientific and educational purposes. It shall not operate for profit or for any political, religious, or purposes other than the pursuit of science.
The Coordinating Committee will decide on the location of the RGC and RGN Secretariats from time to time. Initially, the RGC Secretariat will be located at the International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos, Philippines and the RGN Secretariat in Minima, Japan.
X. Foundation Members of RGC
The participants of the International Rice Genetics Symposium being held at IRRI from May 27 to 31, 1985, will be invited to join as Foundation Members of RGC. Other rice geneticists not attending the symposium will also be given opportunities to join as Foundation Members throughout 1985.
3. Appointment of Committee Members of Rice Genetics Cooperative
Minutes of the First Meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Rice Genetics Cooperative (RGC) held at IRRI on May 31, 1985:
Present were T. Matuso, M. Takahashi, G.S. Khush, H.I. Oka, Y. Futsuhara, T. Kinoshita, Min Shao-Kai, J. Neil Rutgar, A. Bianchi, K. Miezan, R. Seetharaman, B.H. Siwi, M.H. Heu, and M.S. Swaminathan.
In accordance with the Covenant and By-Laws of the Rice Genetics Cooperative established at IRRI in Los Banos on May 31, 1985 by the participants of the International Rice Genetics Symposium, the Members of the Coordinating Committee met at IRRI at the end of the Symposium on May 31.
Dr. Swaminathan extended a warm welcome to all the members of the Coordinating Committee. The items discussed and the decisions arrived at are given below:
I. Appointment of office bearers:
The following were requested to serve on the positions indicated:
M. S. Swaminathan-Chairman
G. S. Khush-Secretary and Editor
H. I. Oka-Editor
Dr. D. Senadhira, IRRI Plant Breeder, was requested to serve as Treasurer of RGC. The following will serve as Members representing different regions:
M. Takahashi, K. Miezan
T. Kinoshita, R. Seetharaman
Min Shao-Kai, B. H. Siwi
J. Neil Rutger, M .H. Heu
It was decided to invite Dr. Mike Cox of Australia to represnt Oceania on the Coordinating Committee.
II. Appointment of convenors and members of Standing Committees
The following were chosen for serving as Convenors and Members of the four Standing Committees:
1. Committee on Gene Symbolization, Nomenclature and
Convenor: T. Kinoshita
Members: H.K. Wu, R. Seetharaman, J. Neil Rutger, G.S. Khush
2. Committee on Genetic Stocks:
Convenor: T. Omura
Members: T.T. Chang, S.D. Sharma, K. Miezan, N. Iwata
3. Committee on Genetic Engineering:
Convenor: M. Van Montague
Members: R. Wu, Dayuan Wang, H. Yamaguchi, B.H. Siwi
4. Committee for the Rice Genetics Newsletter:
Convenor: G.S. Khush
Members: H.I. Oka, A. Bianchi, S. Iyama, J. Neil Rutger
III. Financial matters:
Dr. Oka mentioned that the Japanese Government would continue to provide support for the Rice Genetics Newsletter. Dr. Swaminathan requested all members to identify suitable institutions to become Corporate Members of RGC. It was decided to approach the Rockefeller Foundation to become a Corporate Member.
At the conclusion of the business meeting, the meeting continued under the chairmanship of Dr. Matsuo to discuss technical details relating to the work of the Standing Committees.
The recommendations of the Committee chaired by Dr. C.M. Rick will be reported in the next Rice Genetics Newsletter along with the chromosomes numbered according to the agreed system.