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Origin and Genetic Diversity of Aromatic Rice Varieties, Molecular Breeding and Chemical and Genetic Basis of Rice Aroma

Abstract

Aroma is an important quality attribute of rice and is a key determinant of its market value. Among the different groups of aromatic rice varieties ‘Basmati’ from the Indian subcontinent and ‘Jasmine’ from Thailand occupy prime position in the international market. In addition, there are a large number of premium short-grain aromatic rice varieties cultivated by farmers in India and South-East Asia that have not been fully commercially utilised as yet. The origin and evolution of aromatic rice varieties is being unravelled by application of genomic tools. The common alleles of aroma gene seem to have their origin in the aromatic group of rice varieties native to the Sub-Himalayan region. Of more than two hundred volatile compounds present in the rice grain, 2-acetyl-l-pyrolline (2-AP) is considered as the key aroma compound present in almost all the aromatic rice varieties. However, there is significant variation in the type and intensity of aroma in the different groups of aromatic rice varieties suggesting involvement of additional chemical compounds in varying proportions. Studies have been undertaken to understand the genetics of rice aroma and to map the genes or quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling aroma expression. Of the three mapped aroma QTL, qaro8.1 located on rice chromosome S is the most significant and it represents a non-functional allele of BADH2 gene coding for enzyme betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase. Functional allele of the BADH2 gene makes rice non-aromatic. Similarly, specific alleles of BADH1 gene located on rice chromosome 4 within the aroma QTL qaro4.1 show association with the aromatic rice varieties. The gene underlying QTL qaro3.1 on chromosome 3 has not yet been deciphered. Functional molecular markers have been developed for the major aroma QTL on chromosome S and marker-assisted breeding for high yielding aromatic rice varieties is now a reality. To safeguard the reputation of Basmati rice an international code of practice has been developed where DNA markers help check the purity of commercial samples. There is need to use advanced genomic and metabolomic approaches to further study the minor genes controlling rice aroma and understand the variation in type, intensity and stability of rice aroma. It is also required to improve the production and marketing of short grain aromatic rice varieties.

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Correspondence to Nagendra K. Singh.

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Pachauri, V., Singh, M.K., Singh, A.K. et al. Origin and Genetic Diversity of Aromatic Rice Varieties, Molecular Breeding and Chemical and Genetic Basis of Rice Aroma. J. Plant Biochem. Biotechnol. 19, 127–143 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03263333

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Key words

  • rice
  • Basmati
  • aroma
  • origin
  • genetic diversity
  • QTL
  • molecular markers