Indexed on: 09 Dec '08Published on: 09 Dec '08Published in: Euphytica
Drought resistance is becoming an indispensable character for rice improvement due to the dwindling global water resources. Genetic improvement for drought resistance is achieved through physiological dissection and genetic analysis of independent component traits associated with crop productivity under stress. A subset mapping population of 93 near flowering recombinant inbred lines with uniform phenology was constituted for genetic analysis of reproductive stage drought resistance. The population was phenotyped for 22 physio-morphological traits under two contrasting water regimes imposed at reproductive stage. Broad sense heritabilities of morphological traits were lower under stress than irrigated. Predominant association of plant height, panicle exsertion and harvest index with grain yield were observed under stress. The sustenance of panicle exsertion through maintaining growth during moisture stress was found as a significant trait associated with the grain yield through minimizing spikelet sterility. Selective genotyping was carried out with 23 polymorphic microsatellite markers of the established target genomic regions for drought resistance. The study validated the association of a QTL region on the long arm of chromosome 1 with plant height, panicle length, panicle exsertion, biological yield and stomatal conductance under stress. This region, flanked by markers RM246 and RM315, was known to possess the semi-dwarf gene, sd-1. Role of another major interval lying between RM256 and RM149 on chromosome 8 in defining the drought resistance could be established through identification of QTLs associated with leaf rolling, panicle exsertion, plant height, panicle length, senescence and biological yield under moisture stress condition. Few other QTLs were also identified.