Methods in Molecular Biology Volume 956, 2013, pp 227-241

Phenotypic, Physiological, and Molecular Evaluation of Rice Chilling Stress Response at the Vegetative Stage

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Abstract

Rice is a chilling-sensitive plant that is particularly prone to injury during the early stages of seedling development and during flowering. Significant variation exists between subspecies with japonica cultivars generally being less sensitive than most indica cultivars. In most temperate and subtropical countries where rice is grown, crop damage often occurs during the early stages of seedling development due to occasional cold snaps coinciding with the first few weeks after direct seeding in late spring to early summer. Irreversible injuries often result in seedling mortality or if the crop survives a stress episode, plant vigor and resistance to pests and diseases are severely compromised. Recent physiological and molecular studies have shown that oxidative stress is the primary cause of early chilling injuries in rice and the differential responses of indica and japonica cultivars are defined to a large extent by gene expression related to oxidative signaling and defenses. In this chapter, we summarize basic phenotypic, physiological, and molecular procedures that can be adopted for routine evaluation of differential responses between cultivars as well as for functional genomics studies.