Noorman Affendi Marzukhi


PhD Student



School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGy), Thoday Building, Deniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK.

PhD Title

Evaluation of near-isogenic lines (NILs) associated with drought-tolerance traits in upland rice (Oryza sativa L.)


Dr. Katherine Steele


Before I started on a Graduate programme at Bangor University, I worked as a Research Officer in the Malaysian Agriculture, Research and Development Institute (MARDI) specifically working on pineapple crop breeding. I have handled and successfully completed two Science Fund Projects since my inception into MARDI in 2006. I collaborated in five pineapple breeding related R&D projects as well as presented five scientific poster entries at MARDI and national level competitions. 

My research in Malaysia involved the evaluation and selection of pineapple crosses with the aim for commercialising a new variety with a higher yield, disease tolerant as well as cosmetically acceptable to the market preference as an alternative to the existing old varieties. My research team and I managed to narrow down to six potential pineapple lines which were tested on various agro-climatic zones and soil types throughout Malaysia and we identified the most suitable candidate to be commercially released by 2017.

I consider myself as being energetic, eager learner and can absorb learning quickly. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and I have been fortunate enough to travel to several places around the world, including Brunei, Australia, Netherlands and Germany, for both work and leisure, discovering and learning about cultures.


Based in the SENRGy's Thoday building, and supervised by Dr. Katherine Steele, my PhD project focuses on identifying quantitative traits that are related towards drought tolerance in selected upland rice varieties with a long term aim in tackling low yield production in poorer parts of the world that are severely affected by drought. Among the approaches used will be the selection and evaluation of rice near isogenic lines by utilising genomic tools such as molecular markers, gene expression analysis through RT-PCR and NGS.

Rice is the main staple food of Malaysia, yet the country has not yet achieved self-sufficiency level (SSL) in rice production. With a current production of 2.5 million tonnes of rice per annum versus its current consumption of 4 million tonnes per annum, rice has to be imported. Among the Malaysian rice breeding priorities are for higher yield, improved yield under environmental stress (drought/water stress) and increasing productivity with lower levels of fertilizers (including phosphorus).

Identifying genes for root growth and phosphate use efficiency in selected upland rice varieties will help me to identify suitable breeding lines and develop strategies that can be applied to the Malaysian rice varieties to boost yield productivity under drought and low phosphate (P) conditions, as well as key grain quality traits that are desired by end users.