Molecular mapping and location of QTLs for drought-resistance traits in indica rice (Oryza sativa L.) lines adapted to target environments
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Drought is a major limitation for rice production in rainfed ecosystems. Identifying quantitative trait loci (QTLs) linked to drought resistance provides opportunity to breed high yielding rice varieties suitable for drought-prone areas. Although considerable efforts were made in mapping QTLs associated with drought-resistance traits in rice, most of the studies involved indica × japonica crosses and hence, the drought-resistance alleles were contributed mostly by japonica ecotypes. It is desirable to look for genetic variation within indica ecotypes adapted to target environment (TE) as the alleles from japonica ecotype may not be expressed under lowland conditions. A subset of 250 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) of F8 generation derived from two indica rice lines (IR20 and Nootripathu) with contrasting drought-resistance traits were used to map the QTLs for morpho-physiological and plant production traits under drought stress in the field in TE. A genetic linkage map was constructed using 101 polymorphic PCR-based markers distributed over the 12 chromosomes covering a total length of 1,529 cM in 17 linkage groups with an average distance of 15.1 cM. Composite interval mapping analysis identified 22 QTLs, which individually explained 4.8–32.2% of the phenotypic variation. Consistent QTLs for drought-resistance traits were detected using locally adapted indica ecotypes, which may be useful for rainfed rice improvement.