Rakesh Kumar Singh

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Rakesh Kumar Singh

R.K. is a senior scientist in the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division. His expertise is on breeding rice varieties for abiotic stress tolerance with special reference to salt-affected soils (saline and alkaline soils), as well as zinc-deficient and iron-toxic soils. He obtained vast experience in rice-based agriculture while serving as regional plant breeding coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa from 2009-2012. Since July 2012, he’s been based at IRRI headquarters to coordinate IRRI’s rice breeding activities on problem soils and lead varietal development for rainfed-lowland areas of Southeast Asia.

R.K. has guided many BSc, MSc, and PhD students from India, Philippines, Myanmar, Iran, Burundi, Madagascar, and Egypt, which continues today. He is also serving as an adjunct associate professor of plant breeding and genetics at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.


  • Breeding rice varieties for problem soils (Salt-affected, Fe-toxic and Zn deficient)
  • Rice Production system in South East Asia
  • Rice production system in Eastern and Southern Africa
  • Seed Production and system


  • PhD in Plant Breeding, Major in Plant Breeding, Minor in Plant Pathology, GB Pant Univ. of Agriculture, Pantnagar, India (1988)
  • MSc in Agriculture, Major in Plant Breeding, Minor in Agriculture Statistics, GB Pant University of Agriculture, Pantnagar, India (1984)
  • BSc in Agriculture (Hon.), Agra University, India (1981)


  • Senior Scientist – II (Rice Breeder for Problem Soils and Rainfed Lowlands for SE Asia), PBGB, IRRI (June 2012-present)
  • Senior Scientist/Senior Scientist - II , Regional Plant Breeding Coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa, based at IRRI-ESA office at Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (July 2009–June 2012)
  • International Research Fellow (Rice Breeder for Salt-affected Areas) IRRI-HQ (2005-2008)
  • Principal Scientist (Rice Program Leader), Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (Indian Council of Agril. Research), Karnal, INDIA (2005-2008)
  • Senior Scientist (Senior Rice Breeder) Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (Indian Council of Agril. Research), Karnal, INDIA (1998-2005)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Salinity Research Lab., University of Sussex, UK (1995-1996)
  • Scientist (Rice Breeder) Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (Indian Council of Agril. Research), Karnal, INDIA (1991-1998)
  • Scientist S-1 (Rice Breeder) Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (Indian Council of Agril. Research), Karnal, INDIA (1986-1991)


  • Chancellor’s Medal for best student (B.Sc.) (1981)
  • ICAR Senior Research Fellowship awardee in PhD
  • Fellow of Indian Society of Genetics and Plant Breeding (1998)
  • External Expert of Research Department Committee (RDC) in the Discipline of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Agra University, Agra, India (2000-2004)
  • Recipient of ICAR National Awards (Hari Om Ashram Award-2003) for the outstanding contribution in agriculture
  • Recognition from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), DARE, Government of India for the contribution to the development of Basmati CSR30 rice variety and honour for outstanding service to the nation – presented by DG ICAR and Minister of Agriculture (16 July 2013)
  • Recipient of IRRI Semi-Annual Team Awards (SATA) as team member of Salinity Breeding Team (First half, 2013)


Research paper reviewing

Regular research paper reviewer for reputed journals like TAG, Euphytica, Plant breeding, Plant and Soil, Journal of Experimental Botany, Annals of Botany, Functional Plant Biol., Molecular Biol Reports, Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, Plant Cell Reports, Rice, Planta, SABRAO J, Plant Physiol and Biochemistry.

Particulars of Memberships in academics / societies / professional bodies:

  • Life Member of Society for Advancement of Rice Research, DRR, Hyderabad, India
  • Life Member of Indian Society of Genetics and Plant Breeding (ISGPB) , IARI, New Delhi, India
  • Life Member of Association of Rice Research Workers (ARRW), CRRI, Cuttack, India
  • Annual Member of Society for the Advancement of Breeding Researches in Asia and Oceania (SABRAO), Philippines
  • Life Member of All India Pantnagar Alumni Association (AIPAA) , New Delhi, India
  • Life Member of Alumni Association of National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), Hyderabad, India


  1. Mohammadi R; Mendioro MS; Diaz GQ; Gregorio GB; Singh RK. 2014. Genetic analysis of salt tolerance at the seedling and reproductive stages in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Plant Breeding (accepted).
  2. Bimpong  I. Kofi; Manneh B; El-Namaky R; Diaw F; Amoah, NKA;  Sanneh B; Ghislain K; Sow A; Singh RK; Gregorio G; Bizimana JB; Wopereis M. 2014. Mapping QTLs related to salt tolerance in rice at the young seedling stage using 384-plex single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker sets. Molecular Plant Breeding. http://biopublisher.ca/index.php/mpb/article/view/1409 (open Access).
  3. Bimpong  I. Kofi; Manneh B; Diop B; Ghislain K; Sow A; Amoah NKA; Gregorio GB; Singh RK; Ortiz R; Wopereis M. 2014. New quantitative trait loci for enhancing adaptation to salinity in rice from Hasawi, a Saudi landrace into three African cultivars at the reproductive stage. Euphytica. Published on-line. DOI 10.1007/s10681-014-1134-0.
  4. Mohammadi R, Mendioro MS, Diaz GQ, Gregorio GB, Singh RK. 2013. Mapping quantitative trait loci associated to yield and yield components under reproductive stage salinity stress in rice (Oryza sativa L.). J. Genet. 92 (3) 433-443.  doi :10.1007/s12041-013-0285-4.
  5. Ali S, Gautam RK, Mahajan R, Krishnamurthy SL,  Sharma SK, Singh RK and Ismail AM. 2013. Stress indices and selectable traits in SALTOL QTL introgressed rice genotypes for reproductive stage tolerance to sodicity and salinity stresses. Field Crops Research 154 (2013) 65–73.
  6. Nonoy Bandillo, Chitra Raghavan, Pauline Andrea Muyco, Ma.Anna Lynn Sevilla, Irish T Lobina, Christine Jade Dilla Ermita, Chih-Wei Tung, Susan McCouch, Michael Thomson, Ramil Mauleon, Rakesh Kumar Singh, Glenn Gregorio, Edilberto Redoña, and Hei Leung. 2013. Multi-parent advanced generation inter-cross (MAGIC) populations in rice: progress and potential for genetics research and breeding. Rice, 6:11 doi:10.1186/1939-8433-6-11.
  7. Elec V, Quimio CA, Mendoza R, Sajise AGC, Beebout SEJ, Gregorio GB, and Singh RK. 2013. Maintaining elevated Fe2+ concentration in solution culture for the development of a rapid and repeatable screening technique for iron toxicity tolerance in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Plant and Soil. DOI: 10.1007/s11104-013-1739-4.
  8. Singh RK, R Murori, Alexis Ndayiragije, Joseph Bigirimana, JM Kimani; ZL Kaneyka, S Surapong, Innocent Ndikumana, Jimmy Lamo, MS Mkuya, H Tusekelege and Joseph Rickman. 2013. Rice Breeding Activities in Eastern and Southern Africa. SABRAO J. of Breeding and Genetics. 45: 73-83.
  9. Sarhadi E, MM Bazargani, AG Sajise, S Abdolahi, NA Vispo, M Arceta, GM Nejad, RK Singh and GH Salekdeh. 2012. Proteomic analysis of rice anthers under salt stress. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 58: 280-287.
  10. S. V. K. Jagadish, SVK; Septiningsih, EM; Kohli, A; Thomson, MJ; Ye, C; Redona, E; Kumar, A; Gregorio, GB; Wassmann, R; Ismail, AM and Singh RK. 2012. Genetic advances in adapting rice to a rapidly changing climate. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 198(5): 360–373, Doi:10.1111/j.1439-037X.2012.00525.x
  11. 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): 113-114.
  12. 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.
  13. Thomson, Michael J, Marjorie de Ocampo, James Egdane, M. Akhlasur Rahman, Andres Godwin Sajise, Dante L. Adorada, Ellen Tumimbang-Raiz, Eduardo Blumwald, Zeba I. Seraj, Rakesh K. Singh, Glenn B. Gregorio and Abdelbagi M. Ismail. 2010. Characterizing the Saltol quantitative trait locus for salinity tolerance in rice. Rice, 3: 148-160.
  14. Sabouri A, Toorchi M, Rabiei B, Aharizad S, Moumeni A and Singh RK. 2010. Identification and mapping of QTLs for agronomic traits in indica – indica cross of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Cereal Research Communications 38(3), pp. 317–326.
  15. Agdaca, Cheryl A; Merlyn S. Mendioro, Tamerlane Mark S. Nas and R K Singh. 2010. WA-CMS fertility restorer gene restores fertility of a cytoplasmic male sterile line of rice (Oryza sativa L.) developed from a mutagenized source. The Philippine Agricultural Scientist. Vol. 93 (2): 206-212.
  16. Gautam RK, Singh RK and Qadar, A. 2010. Incorporating salt tolerance in rice with more precision-status and prospects. Journal of Soil Salinity and Water Quality (1&2) 73-84.
  17. Gautam RK, Singh RK, Verma V, Singh S, Panesar B, Singh NK and Singh G. 2009.Towards integrating conventional and molecular approaches for developing salt tolerant rice varieties-an Indian perspective. SABRAO Journal of Breeding and Genetics Vol. 41, Special Supplement, August 2009. ISSN 102907073.
  18. Sabouri A, Sajise AG, Ocampo MD, Vispo NA, Refuerzo L, Arceta M, Mamiit A, Thomson MJ, Gregorio GB and Singh RK. 2009. Diversity in the QTL region of Saltol within the widely studied salt-tolerant landrace Pokkali. SABRAO Journal of Breeding and Genetics (41): Special Supplement, http://open.irri.org/sabrao/images/stories/conference/site/papers/apb0900097.pdf . ISSN 1029-7073.
  19. Ammar M H M, Pandit A, Singh RK, Sameena S, Chauhan MS, Singh AK, Sharma PC, Gaikwad K, Sharma TR, Mohapatra T and Singh NK. 2009. Mapping of QTLs controlling Na+, K+ and Cl– ion concentrations in salt tolerant indica rice variety CSR27. J. Plant Biochemistry & Biotechnology Vol. 18(2):139-150.
  20. Prasad Senadheera, R.K. Singh and F.J.M. Maathius. 2009. Differentially expressed membrane transporters in rice roots may contribute to cultivar dependent salt tolerance. J. Exp. Botany. 60 (9): 2553-2563.
  21. Wassmann, R., S.V.K Jagadish, S. Heuer, A. Ismail, E. Redoña, R. Serraj, R.K. Singh, G. Howell, H. Pathak, K. Sumfleth. 2009. Regional Vulnerability of Climate Change Impacts on Asian Rice Production and Scope for Adaptation. Advances in Agronomy (Academic Press): Volume 102: 91-133.
  22. Ismail A.M., M.J. Thomson, R.K. Singh, G.B. Gregorio and D.J. Mackill. 2008. Designing of rice varieties adapted to coastal areas of South and Southeast Asia. J Ind. Soc. of Coastal Agric. Res. 26: 69-73.
  23. Wassmann, R, S.V.K Jagadish, S. Heuer, A. Ismail, E. Redoña, R. Serraj, R.K. Singh, G. Howell, H. Pathak, K. Sumfleth. 2009. Climate Change Affecting Rice Production: The Physiological and Agronomic Basis for Possible Adaptation Strategies. Advances in Agronomy (Academia Press): Volume 101: 59-102.
  24. Mohammadi-Nejad, G., A. Arzani, A.M. Rezai, R.K. Singh and G.B. Gregorio. 2008. Assessment of rice genotypes for salt tolerance using microsatellite markers associated with the Saltol QTL. African Journal of Biotechnology. 7: 730-736.
  25. Neeraja CN, B. Mishra, K.S. Rao, R.K. Singh, G. Padmavathi and V.V. Shenoy. 2008. Linkage Disequilibrium in Salt Tolerant Genotypes of Rice (Oryza sativa L). J. Plant Biochemistry & Biotechnology: 17(1), 65-68.
  26. 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 J Breed & Genet. 40 (2): 127-139.
  27. Singh RK, G.B. Gregorio and A.M. Ismail. 2008. Breeding rice varieties with tolerance to salt stress. J Ind. Soc. of Coastal Agric. Res. 26: 16-21.
  28. Islam, MR; G.B. Gregorio, M.A. Salam, R.K. Singh, B.C.Y. Collard, E. Tumimbang-Raiz, D. Adorada, R. Mendoza, and L. Hassan. 2007. Validation of molecular markers and haplotype diversity at the Saltol locus on chromosome 1 of rice. Molecular Plant Breeding. 5: 259-260.
  29. Thomson, M.J.; De Ocampo, M.; Egdane, J.; Katimbang, M.; Rahman, M.A.; Singh, R.K.; Gregorio, G.B. and Ismail, A.M. 2007. QTL mapping and marker-assisted backcrossing for improved salinity tolerance in rice. In: Proceedings of BioAsia 2007: 6th Asian Crop Science Association Conference and 2nd International conference on rice for the future, Bangkok 5-9 November, 2007. Pages 6-12.
  30. Ammar, MHM; Monir, Samah; Singh, RK; Mohapatra, T and Singh, NK. 2007. Diversity analysis of rice varieties differing in salt-tolerance. Egyptian Journal of Plant Breeding. 11(2): 543-550.
  31. Gautam, RK; Singh, RK; Singh, KN; Mishra, B and Singh GB. 2007. Rice varieties for salt-affected soils: development and deployment. Rice India, 17(5): 28-32.
  32. Singh RK, Gregorio GB, Jain RK. 2007. QTL mapping for salinity tolerance. Physiol Mol Biol Plants 13: 87-99

Published book chapters

  1. Gautam RK, Singh RK, Singh NK and Krishnamurthy SL. 2011. Harnessing Genomic Tools for Improving Salt Tolerance in Rice: Prospects and Progress. In: Muralidharan K and Siddiq EA (Eds). 2011. Genomics and Crop Improvement: Relevance and Reservations. Institute of Biotechnology, Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad 500030 India. pp 299-313.
  2. Singh, RK; Redoña, E; Gregorio, GB.; Salam, AM.; Islam, R; Singh, DP; Sen, P; Saha, S; Mahata, KR; Sharma, SG; Pandey, MP; Sajise, AG; Mendoza, R; Toledo, MC; Dante, Adorada; Ismail, AM; Paris, Thelma; Haefele, S; Thomson, Mike; Zolvinski, S; Singh, YP; Nayak, AK; Singh, RB; Mishra, VK; Sharma DK; Gautam, RK; Ram, PC; Singh, PN; Verma, OP; Singh, A and Lang, NT. 2010. Right rice in the right place: Systematic exchange and farmer-centered evaluation of rice germplasm for salt-affected areas. In: Hoanh CT, Szuster BW, Pheng KS, Ismail AM, Nobel AD, editors. Tropical Deltas and coastal zones: food production, communities and environment at the land-water interface. Wallingford: CAB; 2010. p 166-182.
  3. Ismail AM, Thomson MJ, Vergara GV, Rahman MA, Singh RK, Gregorio GB, and Mackill DJ. 2010. Designing resilient rice varieties for coastal deltas using modern breeding tools. In: Hoanh CT, Szuster BW, Pheng KS, Ismail AM, Nobel AD, editors. Tropical Deltas and coastal zones: food production, communities and environment at the land-water interface. Wallingford: CAB; 2010. p. 154–65.
  4. Singh RK and Flowers TJ. 2010. The physiology and molecular biology of the effects of salinity on rice. In Third Edition of "Handbook of Plant and Crop Stress" edited by M. Pessarakli. Publisher : Taylor and Francis, Florida, USA. pp 899-939.
  5. Singh RK, Redoña ED, Refuerzo L. 2010. Varietal improvement for abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants: Special reference to salinity in rice. In: Abiotic Stress Adaptation in Plants: Physiological, Molecular and Genomic Foundation. A. Pareek, S.K. Sopory, H.J. Bohnert and Govindjee (eds.), Springer, Dordrecht, Netherland, pp 387-415.
  6. Sharma, P.C. and Singh, R.K. 2008. Approaches to enhance salt tolerance in crop plants: progress and prospects. In: Crop Improvement: Strategies and Applications. . Eds: R.C. Setia; Harsh Nayyar and Neelam Setia. I.K. International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. pp 179-205.


Rakesh Kumar Singh
Dr. RK Singh

Senior Scientist II, Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division (PBGB)

International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños, Laguna

+63 2 580 5600
ext 2279