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Improvement of two traditional Basmati rice varieties for bacterial blight resistance and plant stature through morphological and marker-assisted selection


Bacterial blight (BB) is a major production threat to Basmati, the aromatic rice prized for its unique quality. In order to improve the BB resistance of two elite, traditional BB-susceptible Basmati varieties (Taraori Basmati and Basmati 386), we utilized the strategy of limited marker-assisted backcrossing for introgression of two major BB resistance genes, Xa21 and xa13, coupled with phenotype-based selection for improvement of their plant type and yield. Improved Samba Mahsuri, an elite high-yielding, fine-grain-type BB-resistant rice variety served as donor for BB resistance. Backcross-derived improved Basmati lines at BC1F5 possessing a single resistance gene (i.e. either Xa21 or xa13) displayed moderate resistance to BB, while lines possessing both Xa21 and xa13 showed significantly higher levels of resistance. Two-gene pyramid lines (Xa21 + xa13) possessing good grain and cooking quality similar to their respective traditional Basmati parents, short plant stature (<110 cm plant height) and higher grain yield than the recurrent parent(s) were identified and advanced. This work demonstrates the successful application of marker-assisted selection in conjunction with phenotype-based selection for targeted introgression of multiple resistance genes into traditional Basmati varieties along with improvement of their plant stature and yield.

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The authors thank the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India for providing financial support. We also thank Mr. M. Vijay Kumar, B. Venkaiah and A. Ashok Reddy for their help in field experiments and grain quality assessment.

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Correspondence to N. Shobha Rani.

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Manish K. Pandey, N. Shobha Rani and R. M. Sundaram contributed equally.

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Pandey, M.K., Shobha Rani, N., Sundaram, R.M. et al. Improvement of two traditional Basmati rice varieties for bacterial blight resistance and plant stature through morphological and marker-assisted selection. Mol Breeding 31, 239–246 (2013).

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  • Gene pyramiding
  • Bacterial blight resistance
  • Basmati rice
  • Grain quality
  • Marker-assisted selection
  • Morphological selection