Mohammad Rafiqul Islam

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Mohammad Rafiqul Islam

Rafiqul is a plant breeder specializing in rainfed and irrigated rice breeding and genetics of salinity tolerance and problem soils in the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division (PBGB) of IRRI.

Before joining IRRI, Rafiqul worked as a plant breeder in the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) in 1998 and conducted his PhD thesis research in IRRI from 2003 to 2006. He came back to IRRI as a postdoctoral fellow in PBGB on 1 October 2011 and worked with the salinity and problem soil team. In his postdoctoral research, he identified variety NSIC Rc222 (IRRI154), which is now being used as a sensitive check in IRRI. He also identified IR58443-6B-10-3 as a salinity-tolerant variety at the seedling and reproductive stages. He developed about 15 populations from different backgrounds of high-yielding varieties (HYV) using marker-assisted background selection for salinity tolerance. These are now in different trial stages for release as salt-tolerant varieties in South and Southeast Asia.

Rafiqul joined IRRI as a scientist in the irrigated breeding team on 1 April 2014 and is now working to improve yield potentiality of irrigated rice using different modern tools. He pioneered the use of participatory plant breeding methods to develop salt-tolerant rice varieties in Bangladesh and was the key scientist to have these varieties released there. Currently, He develops rainfed lowland and irrigated ecosystem rice varieties as well as rice varieties for arsenic tolerance and tidal submergence tolerance.


  • Rice breeding and genetics
  • Salinity stress tolerance of rice
  • Soil science


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Plant Breeding (MAS), PETRRA project Scholar, Bangladesh Agricultural University and IRRI (2007)
  • Master of Science in Genetics and Plant Breeding, IRRI Scholar, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh (1997)
  • Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh (1996)


  • Postdoctoral Fellow. Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Division, IRRI (Oct 2011-present)
  • Principal Plant Breeder, Plant Breeding Division, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) (2010-2011)
  • Senior Plant Breeder, Plant Breeding Division, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) (2006-2010)
  • Plant Breeder, Plant Breeding Division, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) (1998-2006)
  • Plant Breeder, Plant Breeding Division, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) (1997-1998)


  • Plant Breeding and Genetic Society of Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh Association for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering
  • Philippines Society for the Advancement of Genetics (PhilSAGen)
  • Krishibid Institution of Bangladesh
  • Societies for the Advancement of Breeding Research in Asia and Oceania (SABRAO)


Book chapters

  1. Salam, M.A., M.R. Islam, M.S. Rahman, M.A. Rahman, M.A.R. Bhuiyan, Z.I. Seraj, T.L. Aditya, M.K. Uddin, M.K. Mondal, A.M. Ismail, D.L. Adorada, R.D. Mendoza, E. Tumimbang-Raiz and G.B. Gregorio. 2010. Rice varieties and cultural management practices for high and sustained productivity in the coastal wetlands of Southern Bangladesh. In: Tropical Deltas and Coastal Zones: Food production, Communities and Environment at the Land-Water Interface. CABI Publisher, UK. Pp 183-198.
  2. Singh, R.K., E. Redona, G.B. Gregorio, M.A. Salam, M.R. Islam, D.P. Singh, P. Sen, S. Saha, K.R. Mehta, S.G. Sharma, M.P. Pandey, A.G. Sajise, R.D. Mendoza, M.C. Toledo, D.L. Adorada, A.M. Ismail, T. Paris, S. Haefele, M. Thomson, S. Zolvinski, Y.P. Singh, A.K. Nayak, R.B. Singh, D.K. Sharma, R.K. Gautam, P.C. Ram, P.N. Singh, O.P. Verma, A. Singh and NT. Lang. 2010. Right rice in the right place: Systematic exchange and farmer-centered evaluation of rice germplasm for salt affected areas. In: Tropical Deltas and Coastal Zones: Food production, Communities and Environment at the Land-Water Interface. CABI Publisher, UK. Pp 166-182.

Review articles

  1. Islam MR and GB Gregorio. 2013. Progress of salinity tolerant rice variety development in Bangladesh. SABRAO Journal of Breeding and Genetics. 45 (1): 21-30.
  2. Gregorio GB, MR Islam, GV Vergara and S Thirumeni. 2013. Recent advances in rice science to design salinity and other abiotic stress tolerant rice varieties. SABRAO Journal of Breeding and Genetics. 45 (1): 31-41.

Research articles

  1. Rashid, M.H., Islam M.R. Saleque M.A., Muttaleb, M.A., Mondal S., Ali M.H., Sattar S.A. and Abedin M.Z., 2014. Farming systems options to adapt with climate change in south western Bangladesh. Reserarch on Crop Ecophysiology. 9/1 (2): 70-80.
  2. Sharma, N, MRA Sarker, MA Rahman and MR Islam. 2013. Participatory varietal selection of modern T. Aman rice varieties in salt affected coastal area of Bangladesh. Eco-friendly Agril. J. 6(08): 141- 145.
  3. Sharma, N, MRA Sarker, MA Rahman and MR Islam. 2013. Varietal evaluation of rice for improving Productivity in southern Bangladesh. Intl. J. BioRes. 15 (4): 7-13.
  4. Islam M.R., G.B Gregorio, M.A. Salam, B.C.Y. Collard, R.K. Singh and L. Hassan. 2012. Validation of SalTol linked markers and haplotype diversity on chromosome 1 of rice. Molecular Plant Breeding. 3 (10): 103-114.
  5. Yasmin F, M.R. Islam, S. Rehana, R.R. Mazumder, M. Anisuzzaman, H. Khatun, R. Rayhan and G.B. Gregorio. 2012. Molecular characterization of inbred and hybrid rice genotypes of Bangladesh. SABRAO Journal of Breeding and Genetics. 40 (2): 127-139.
  6. Islam M R, G B Gregorio, M A Salam, B C Y Collard, E Tumimbang-Raiz, D L Adorada, R.D. Mendoza, R.K. Singh, and L. Hassan. 2011. Validation of a major QTL for salinity tolerance on chromosome 1 of rice in three different breeding populations. Agrochimica. 55 (6): 355-366.
  7. Islam M.R., M.A. Salam, L. Hassan, B.C.Y. Collard, R.K. Singh, and G.B Gregorio. 2011. QTL Mapping for Salinity Tolerance at Seedling Stage in Rice. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture. 23 (2): 137-146.
  8. Islam M.R., R.K. Singh, M.A. Salam, L. Hassan, and G.B Gregorio. 2008. Molecular diversity of stress-tolerant rice genotypes using SSR markers. SABRAO Journal of Breeding and Genetics. 40 (2): 127-139.
  9. Islam M. R, M. A. Salam, M. A. R. Bhuiyan, M. A. Rahman, R. Yasmeen, M. S. Rahman, M. K. Uddin, G.B. Gregorio and A.M. Ismail. 2008. BRRI Dhan47: A Salt-Tolerant Rice Variety for Boro Season Isolated Through Participatory Variety Selection. . Intl. J. BioRes. 5 (1): 1-6.
  10. Islam M R, M S Rahman and M A Salam. 2008. Coastal Saline Environment and Rice Variety Development in Bangladesh. Eco-Friendly Agriculture Journal. 1 (1): 37-47.
  11. Bhuiyan, M A R, M R Islam, M A Salam E Tumimbang and G B Gregorio. 2008. Efficiency of SSR markers linked to salinity tolerance in rice. Eco-Friendly Agriculture Journal. 1 (1): 64-70.
  12. Islam, M.R, M A Salam, TL Aditya, M A R Bhuiyan, MA Rahman, MS Rahman, S Khatun and HU Ahmed. 2008. Improvement of rice genotypes for salt affected areas of Bangladesh. Intl. J. BioRes. 4 (5): 81-85.
  13. Islam, M.R, M A Salam, M A R Bhuiyan, MA Rahman and GB Gregorio. 2008. Participatory variety selection for salt-tolerant rice. Intl. J. BioRes. 4 (3): 21-25.
  14. Khatun, S, PS Biswas, MA Rahman, MR Islam and MA Salam. 2008. BRRI dhan42 and BRRI dhan43: two upland rice varieties for drought prone environment. Intl. J. BioRes. 4 (5): 48-51.
  15. Ahmed, HU, S Khatun. MR Islam, TL Aditya and MA Salam. 2008. BRRI dhan44: A modern rice cultivar for tidal non-saline wetlands. Intl. J. BioRes. 4 (5): 76-80.
  16. Islam, M.R., G.B. Gregorio, M.A. Salam, B.C.Y. Collard, R.K. Singh, E. Tumimbang-Raiz, D.L. Adorada, R.D. Mendoza and L. Hassan,. 2007. Validation of molecular markers and haplotype diversity at the SalTol locus on chromosome 1 of rice. Mol. Plant Breed. 5 (2): 259-260.

Mohammad Rafiqul Islam
Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam

Scientist I - Plant Breeding

International Rice Research Institute
Los BaƱos, Laguna