QTLs linked to leaf epicuticular wax, physio-morphological and plant production traits under drought stress in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

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Abstract

Drought stress is the major constraint to rice (Oryza sativa L.) production and yield stability in rainfed ecosystems. Identifying genomic regions contributing to drought resistance will help to develop rice cultivars suitable for rainfed regions through marker-assisted breeding. Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) linked to leaf epicuticular wax, physio-morphological and plant production traits under water stress and irrigated conditions were mapped in a doubled haploid (DH) line population from the cross CT9993-5-10-1-M/IR62266-42-6-2. The DH lines were subjected to water stress during anthesis. The DH lines showed significant variation for epicuticular wax (EW), physio-morphological and plant production traits under stress and irrigated conditions. A total of 19 QTLs were identified for the various traits under drought stress and irrigated conditions in the field, which individually explained 9.6%–65.6% of the phenotypic variation. A region EM15_10-ME8_4-R1394A-G2132 on chromosome 8 was identified for leaf EW and rate of water loss i.e., time taken to reach 70% RWC from excised leaves in rice lines subjected to drought stress. A large effect QTL (65.6%) was detected on chromosome 2 for harvest index under stress. QTLs identified for EW, rate of water loss from excised leaves and harvest index under stress in this study co-located with QTLs linked to shoot and root-related drought resistance traits in these rice lines and might be useful for rainfed rice improvement.

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