In the RGA department, or the Rapid Generation Advancement, they breed plants from the F2 to the F6 generation in a shorter period of time than conventional breeding methods by micromanaging the stages of development.
Kuya Edwin was nice enough to show me around and to walk me through their protocol. I was able to observe examples from seeding all the way until harvest. Similar to the Crossing Works department, they take orders from other IRRI scientists and breed the desired plants to the finishing F6 generation.
An issue they are facing now is that the current RGA head greenhouse lacks windflow, which causes the building to overheat. Today’s temperature was recorded at 37 degrees Celsius, just in the morning alone. The central problem with the greenhouse is it’s location relative to the other greenhouses. There is a block of airflow to the facility, which causes the temperature to rise. Currently, they moved their plants to a different greenhouse that has much better airflow to temporarily solve this issue until the maintenance of the head greenhouse is finished.
Another problem is the BPH pests (brown plant hoppers). This insect can cause major damage to the plants by feeding on the crops or by passing viruses. Due to the close proximity of the plants within the greenhouses, the pests can easily spread. The plants are occasionally sprayed with pesticide when there is an infestation problem to avoid further spreading.