Association mapping of drought tolerance and agronomic traits in rice (Oryza sativa L.) landraces

Radha Beena, Silvas Kirubakaran, Narayanan Nithya, Alagu Manickavelu, Rameshwar Prasad Sah, Puthenpeedikal Salim Abida, Janardanan Sreekumar, Poolakkal Muhammed Jaslam, Rajendrakumar Rejeth, Vijayalayam Gengamma Jayalekshmy, Stephen Roy, Ramakrishnan Vimala Manju, Mariasoosai Mary Viji, Kadambot H.M. Siddique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Asian cultivars were predominantly represented in global rice panel selected for sequencing and to identify novel alleles for drought tolerance. Diverse genetic resources adapted to Indian subcontinent were not represented much in spite harboring useful alleles that could improve agronomic traits, stress resilience and productivity. These rice accessions are valuable genetic resource in developing rice varieties suited to different rice ecosystem that experiences varying drought stress level, and at different crop stages. A core collection of rice germplasm adapted to Southwestern Indian peninsular genotyped using SSR markers and characterized by contrasting water regimes to associate genomic regions for physiological, root traits and yield related traits. Genotyping-By-Sequencing of selected accessions within the diverse panel revealed haplotype variation in genic content within genomic regions mapped for physiological, morphological and root traits. Results: Diverse rice panel (99 accessions) were evaluated in field and measurements on plant physiological, root traits and yield related traits were made over five different seasons experiencing varying drought stress intensity at different crop stages. Traits like chlorophyll stability index, leaf rolling, days to 50% flowering, chlorophyll content, root volume and root biomass were identified as best predictors of grain yield under stress. Association mapping revealed genetic variation among accessions and revealed 14 genomic targets associated with different physiological, root and plant production traits. Certain accessions were found to have beneficial allele to improve traits, plant height, root length and spikelet fertility, that contribute to the grain yield under stress. Genomic characterization of eleven accessions revealed haplotype variation within key genomic targets on chromosomes 1, 4, 6 and 11 for potential use as molecular markers to combine drought avoidance and tolerance traits. Genes mined within the genomic QTL intervals identified were prioritized based on tissue specific expression level in publicly available rice transcriptome data. Conclusion: The genetic and genomic resources identified will enable combining traits with agronomic value to optimize yield under stress and hasten trait introgression into elite cultivars. Alleles associated with plant height, specific leaf area, root length from PTB8 and spikelet fertility and grain weight from PTB26 can be harnessed in future rice breeding program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number484
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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