Article ID: 19064
Rice is a food crop of global importance, cultivated in diverse agro-climatic zones of the world. However, in the process of domestication many beneficial alleles have been eroded from the gene pool of the rice cultivated globally and eventually has made it vulnerable to a plethora of stresses. In contrast, the wild relatives of rice, despite being agronomically inferior, have inherited a potential of surviving in a range of geographical habitats. These adaptations enrich them with novel traits that upon introgression to modern cultivated varieties offer tremendous potential of increasing yield and adaptability. But, due to the unavailability of their genetic as well as genomic resources, identification and characterisation of these novel beneficial alleles has been a challenging task. Nevertheless, with the unprecedented surge in the area of conservation genomics, researchers have now shifted their focus towards these natural repositories of beneficial traits. Presently, there are several generic and specialized databases harboring genome-wide information on wild species of rice, and are acting as a useful resource for identification of novel genes and alleles, designing of molecular markers, comparative analysis and evolutionary biology studies. In this review, we introduce the key features of these databases focusing on their utility in rice breeding programs.