Yield response to water deficit in an upland rice mapping population: associations among traits and genetic markers.
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A population of recombinant inbred rice lines from a cross between the upland japonica cultivar Azucena and the upland indica cultivar Bala was evaluated in a series of upland field experiments. Water stress was imposed during the reproductive stage by managed irrigation during the dry season, while control treatments were maintained in aerobic, well-irrigated conditions. Water deficit resulted in a yield reduction of 17 to 50%. The genetic correlation between stress and control yields was quite high when stress was mild, and the heritability of yield was similar in stress and control treatments across both years of this study. Genetic correlations between secondary traits such as leaf rolling and drying and yield under stress varied from high (leaf drying) to insignificant (leaf rolling). Lines with superior yield tended to have fewer panicles and larger grain size than the high-yielding parent, Bala, even though the panicle number was positively correlated with yield and the thousand-grain weight was not associated with yield for the population as a whole. Analysis of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for yield and yield components allowed the identification of 31 regions associated with growth or yield components. Superior alleles came from either parent. Several of the regions identified had also been reported for root mass at depth or maximum root length in this population in other studies made under controlled environments, and for leaf drying (LD) in field studies. However, the direction of the effect of QTLs was not consistent, which indicates that there was not necessarily a causal relationship between these secondary traits and performance. We conclude that mapping populations can provide novel insights on the actual relationships between yield components and secondary traits in stress and control environments and can allow identification of significant QTLs for yield components under drought stress.
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