Linkages and Interactions Analysis of Major Effect Drought Grain Yield QTLs in Rice
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Quantitative trait loci conferring high grain yield under drought in rice are important genomic resources for climate resilient breeding. Major and consistent drought grain yield QTLs usually co-locate with flowering and/or plant height QTLs, which could be due to either linkage or pleiotropy. Five mapping populations used for the identification of major and consistent drought grain yield QTLs underwent multiple-trait, multiple-interval mapping test (MT-MIM) to estimate the significance of pleiotropy effects. Results indicated towards possible linkages between the drought grain yield QTLs with co-locating flowering and/or plant height QTLs. Linkages of days to flowering and plant height were eliminated through a markerassisted breeding approach. Drought grain yield QTLs also showed interaction effects with flowering QTLs. Drought responsiveness of the flowering locus on chromosome 3 (qDTY(3.2)) has been revealed through allelic analysis. Considering linkage and interaction effects associated with drought QTLs, a comprehensive marker-assisted breeding strategy was followed to develop rice genotypes with improved grain yield under drought stress.
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