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Marker-assisted pyramiding of bacterial blight and gall midge resistance genes into RPHR-1005, the restorer line of the popular rice hybrid DRRH-3

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Bacterial blight (BB) of rice caused by the pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae and the insect gall midge (GM) (Orseolia oryzae) are two major constraints of rice production. The present study was carried out to improve RPHR-1005, a stable restorer line of the fine-grain-type rice hybrid DRRH-3, for BB and GM resistance through marker-assisted backcross breeding (MABB). Two major GM resistance genes, Gm4 and Gm8, and a major BB resistance gene, Xa21, were selected as target genes for transfer to RPHR-1005. Two sets of backcrosses were carried out to combine either Xa21 + Gm4 or Xa21+ Gm8 into RPHR-1005 using breeding lines in the genetic background of ISM possessing either Gm4 or Gm8 along with Xa21. Foreground selection was performed for Xa21, Gm4, Gm8, and the major fertility restorer genes Rf3 and Rf4 using gene-specific markers, while 61 polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used for background selection and marker-assisted backcrossing was continued until BC2 generation. A promising homozygous backcross-derived plant at the BC2F2 generation possessing Xa21 + Gm4, and another possessing Xa21 + Gm8, were intercrossed to stack the target resistance genes. At ICF 4 (inter-crossed F4) , three promising lines possessing the three target resistance genes in a homozygous condition along with fine-grain type, complete fertility restoration, and better panicle exsertion than RPHR-1005 have been identified. Among these, a single line, # RPIC-16-65-125, showed better yield, was highly resistant to BB and GM, was of medium–slender grain type, and had complete fertility restoration along with better panicle exsertion and taller plant type than RPHR-1005. This is the first report of combining resistance against BB and GM in the genetic background of a hybrid rice parental line.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the funding support provided by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India for execution of the research study through Grant # BT/PR11705/AGR/02/646/2008. The authors are thankful to the Director of ICAR-IIRR for providing research facilities.

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Correspondence to R. M. Sundaram.

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Abhilash Kumar, V., Balachiranjeevi, C.H., Bhaskar Naik, S. et al. Marker-assisted pyramiding of bacterial blight and gall midge resistance genes into RPHR-1005, the restorer line of the popular rice hybrid DRRH-3. Mol Breeding 37, 86 (2017).

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