Physiological mechanisms contributing to the QTL qDTY3.2 effects on improved performance of rice Moroberekan x Swarna BC2F3:4 lines under drought. uri icon


  • Background: Traditional rice (Oryza sativa) varieties are valuable resources for the improvement of drought resistance. qDTY(3.2) is a drought-yield quantitative trait locus that was identified in a population derived from the traditional variety Moroberekan and the drought-susceptible variety Swarna. In this study, our aim was to characterize the physiological mechanisms associated with qDTY(3.2). Our approach was to phenotype fifteen BC2F3:4 lines for shoot and root drought resistance-related traits as compared to Swarna in the field under well-watered and drought stress conditions. Four BC2F3:4 lines contrasting for yield under drought were selected for detailed characterization of shoot morphology, water use related traits, flowering time and root system architecture in the field as well as in controlled environments (lysimeters in a greenhouse, and gel imaging platform in a growth chamber).
  • Conclusions: We conclude that earlier flowering time, reduced shallow root growth, and drought-induced increased deep root growth are associated with the presence of qDTY(3.2) since these phenotypes were consistently observed in the selected QTL lines with full introgression of qDTY(3.2). We hypothesize that the qDTY(3.2) associated RSA phenotypes led to better use of water and metabolic resources which, combined with earlier flowering time, improved yield under drought.
  • Results: Across five field experiments, grain yield correlated significantly with root growth along the soil profile, flowering time, and canopy temperature under drought conditions. The four selected BC2F3:4 lines showed earlier flowering time, reduced distribution of root growth to shallow soil layers which resulted in lower water uptake (between 0 and 30 cm) and drought-induced increased distribution of root growth to deep soil layers (between 30 and 60 cm) as compared to Swarna in the field. Root system architecture phenotypes were confirmed in whole root systems in lysimeters, and corresponded to higher numbers of root tips in a gel imaging platform, highlighting the potential stability of some root traits across different growth stages and systems.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018