Development of introgression lines in high yielding, semi-dwarf genetic backgrounds to enable improvement of modern rice varieties for tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses free from undesirable linkage drag.
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Occurrence of multiple abiotic stresses in a single crop season has become more frequent than before. Most of the traditional donors possessing tolerance to abiotic stresses are tall, low-yielding with poor grain quality. To facilitate efficient use of complex polygenic traits in rice molecular breeding research, we undertook development of introgression lines in background of high-yielding, semi-dwarf varieties with good grain quality. The study reports the development and evaluations of over 25,000 introgression lines in eleven elite rice genetic backgrounds for improvement of yield under multiple abiotic-stresses such as drought, flood, high/low temperature. The developed introgression lines within each genetic background are near isogenic/recombinant inbred lines to their recipient recurrent parent with 50 to 98% background recovery and additionally carry QTLs/genes for abiotic stresses. The multiple-stress tolerant pyramided breeding lines combining high yield under normal situation and good yield under moderate to severe reproductive-stage drought, semi-dwarf plant type with good grain quality traits have been developed. The introgression lines in dwarf backgrounds open new opportunity to improve other varieties without any linkage drag as well as facilitate cloning of QTLs, identification and functional characterization of candidate genes, mechanisms associated with targeted QTLs and the genetic networks underlying complex polygenic traits.
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