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Theor Appl Genet. 1995 Jun;90(7-8):969-81. doi: 10.1007/BF00222910.

Locating genes associated with root morphology and drought avoidance in rice via linkage to molecular markers.

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Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biochemistry Division, International Rice Research Institute, P.O. Box 933, 1099, Manila, Philippines.


This research was undertaken to identify and map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with five parameters of rice root morphology and to determine if these QTLs are located in the same chromosomal regions as QTLs associated with drought avoidance/tolerance. Root thickness, root:shoot ratio, root dry weight per tiller, deep root dry weight per tiller, and maximum root length were measured in three replicated experiments (runs) of 203 recombinant inbred lines grown in a greenhouse. The lines were from a cross between indica cultivar Co39 andjaponica cultivar Moroberekan. The 203 RI lines were also grown in three replicated field experiments where they were drought-stressed at the seedling, early vegetative, and late-vegetative growth stage and assigned a visual rating based on leaf rolling as to their degree of drought avoidance/tolerance. The QTL analysis of greenhouse and field data was done using single-marker analysis (ANOVA) and interval analysis (Mapmaker QTL). Most QTLs that were identified were associated with root thickness, root/shoot ratio, and root dry weight per tiller, and only a few with deep root weight. None were reliably associated with maximum root depth due to genotype-by-experiment interaction. Root thickness and root dry weight per tiller were the characters found to be the least influenced by environmental differences between greenhouse runs. Correlations of root parameters measured in greenhouse experiments with field drought avoidance/tolerance were significant but not highly predictive. Twelve of the fourteen chromosomal regions containing putative QTLs associated with field drought avoidance/tolerance also contained QTLs associated with root morphology. Thus, selecting for Moroberekan alleles at marker loci associated with the putative root QTLs identified in this study may be an effective strategy for altering the root phenotype of rice towards that commonly associated with drought-resistant cultivars.


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