Simultaneously improving yield under drought stress and non-stress conditions: a case study of rice (Oryza sativa L.) uri icon

abstract

  • Drought is the most important factor limiting rice productivity in the rainfed areas of Asia. In this study, 48 pyramiding lines (PLs) and their recurrent parent, IR64, were evaluated over two years for their yield performances and related traits under severe drought stress at the reproductive stage (RS), the vegetative stage (VS) and irrigated control in order to understand the relationship between drought tolerance (DT) and yield potential (YP) in rice and their underlying mechanisms. When compared with IR64, all PLs had significantly improved DT to RS and 36 PLs also had significantly improved DT to VS. In addition, 17 PLs had higher YP than IR64 and the remaining 31 PLs had a similar YP IR64 under irrigated conditions. Detailed characterization of the PLs revealed three possible mechanisms that functioned together to contribute to their improved DT. The most important mechanism was dehydration avoidance (DA), characterized by significantly higher growth rate and biomass of all PLs than IR64 under stress and no reduction in biomass under control conditions. The second mechanism was efficient partitioning, characterized by improved harvest index in all PLs compared with IR64, resulting primarily from heavier grain weight and/or higher spikelet fertility under control conditions, which was the major constituent of the improved YP in the 17 best performing PLs. Drought escape (DE) by accelerated heading under drought was the third mechanism that contributed to DT of the PLs to RS. The considerable variation in the measured traits among the PLs with similar levels of DT and YP implies the complex genetic control of the mechanisms for DT/YP and offers opportunities to improve DT and YP further by fine-tuning of a small number of QTLs segregating among the PLs using MAS. Finally, our results indicate that selection for yield plus some secondary traits under appropriate type(s) of stress and non-stress conditions similar to the target environments are critically important for improving both DT and YP in rice.

publication date

  • 2010
  • 2010
  • 2010