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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Multiple major QTL lead to stable yield performance of rice cultivars across varying drought intensities

Shalabh Dixit, Anshuman Singh, Ma Teresa Sta Cruz, Paul T Maturan, Modesto Amante and Arvind Kumar*

Author Affiliations

International Rice Research Institute, DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila, Philippines

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BMC Genetics 2014, 15:16  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-15-16

Published: 3 February 2014

Abstract

Background

Availability of irrigation water is becoming a major limiting factor in rice cultivation. Production in rainfed areas is affected in particular by drought events, as these areas are commonly planted to high-yielding drought-susceptible rice (Oryza sativa L.) varieties. The use of bulk segregant analysis (BSA), taking grain yield (GY) as a selection criterion, has resulted in the identification of several large-effect QTL. A QTL mapping study was undertaken on a BC1F3:4 population developed from the cross IR55419-04/2*TDK1 with the aim of identifying large-effect QTL in the background of TDK1, a popular variety from Lao PDR.

Results

The study identified three QTL—qDTY3.1 (RM168-RM468), qDTY6.1 (RM586-RM217), and qDTY6.2 (RM121-RM541)—for grain yield under drought. qDTY3.1 and qDTY6.1, showed consistent effect across seasons under lowland drought-stress conditions while qDTY6.1 and qDTY6.2 showed effect under both upland and lowland drought conditions. The test of QTL effect, conducted through a QTL class analysis, showed the complimentary nature of qDTY3.1 and qDTY6.1. Both QTL showed specific patterns of effect across different maturity groups within the mapping population and higher stability for grain yield was seen across stress levels for lines with both QTLs as compared to those with single or no QTL.

Conclusions

The study offers a clear understanding of large-effect QTL for grain yield under drought and their effect as individual QTL and in various combinations. The study also opens up an opportunity to develop a drought-tolerant version of TDK1 through marker-assisted backcross breeding and has led to a large-scale QTL pyramiding program aiming to combine these QTL with Sub1 in the background of TDK1 as recipient variety.

Keywords:
Rice; Drought; Grain yield; QTL; Stability