Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Genetic variation, linkage mapping of QTL and correlation studies for yield, root, and agronomic traits for aerobic adaptation

Nitika Sandhu1, Sunita Jain2, Arvind Kumar1*, Balwant Singh Mehla3 and Rajinder Jain4

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology, International Rice Research Institute, DAPO Box 7777 Metro Manila, Philippines

2 Department of Biochemistry, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar 125004 India

3 Department of Plant Breeding CCSHAU Rice Research Station, Kaul 136021 India

4 Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar 125004 India

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BMC Genetics 2013, 14:104  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-104

Published: 29 October 2013



Water scarcity and drought have seriously threatened traditional rice cultivation practices in several parts of the world, including India. Aerobic rice that uses significantly less water than traditional flooded systems has emerged as a promising water-saving technology. The identification of QTL conferring improved aerobic adaptation may facilitate the development of high-yielding aerobic rice varieties. In this study, experiments were conducted for mapping QTL for yield, root-related traits, and agronomic traits under aerobic conditions using HKR47 × MAS26 and MASARB25 × Pusa Basmati 1460 F2:3 mapping populations.


A total of 35 QTL associated with 14 traits were mapped on chromosomes 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 11 in MASARB25 x Pusa Basmati 1460 and 14 QTL associated with 9 traits were mapped on chromosomes 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 in HKR47 × MAS26. Two QTL (qGY8.1 with an R2 value of 34.0% and qGY2.1 with an R2 value of 22.8%) and one QTL (qGY2.2 with an R2 value of 43.2%) were identified for grain yield under aerobic conditions in the mapping populations MASARB25 × Pusa Basmati 1460 and HKR47 × MAS26, respectively.

A number of breeding lines with higher yield per plant, root length, dry biomass, length-breadth ratio, and with Pusa Basmati 1460-specific alleles in a homozygous or heterozygous condition at the BAD2 locus were identified that will serve as novel material for the selection of stable aerobic Basmati rice breeding lines.


Our results identified positive correlation between some of the root traits and yield under aerobic conditions, indicating the role of root traits for improving yield under aerobic situations possibly through improved water and nutrient uptake. Co-localization of QTL for yield, root traits, and yield-related agronomic traits indicates that the identified QTL may be immediately exploited in marker-assisted-breeding to develop novel high-yielding aerobic rice varieties.

Oryza sativa; QTL; Rice; Aerobic; Dry direct seeded