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Tolerance to soil water stress by Oryza sativa cv. IR20 was improved by expression of Wsi18 gene locus from Oryza nivara

Kaur, R., Chakraborty, A., Bhunia, R.K., Sen, S.K., Ghosh, A.K.
Biologia plantarum 2018 v.62 no.1 pp. 129-139
Oryza nivara, Oryza sativa, cell membranes, cultivars, drought tolerance, embryogenesis, genes, genetic variation, genome mining, genotype, grain yield, greenhouses, loci, proline, promoter regions, proteins, soil water, soil water deficit, sugar content, survival rate, transgenic plants, water content, water stress, wild rice
Wild rice genotypes are rich in genetic diversity. This has potential to improve agronomic rice by allele mining for superior traits. Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins are often associated with desiccation tolerance and stress signalling. In the present study, a group 3 LEA gene, Wsi18 from the wild rice Oryza nivara was expressed under its own inducible promoter element in stress susceptible cultivated indica rice (cv. IR20). The resulting transgenic plants cultivated in a greenhouse showed enhanced tolerance to soil water deficit. Transgenic plants had higher grain yield, plant survival rate, and shoot relative water content compared to wild type (WT) IR20. Cell membrane stability index, proline and soluble sugar content were also greater in transgenic than WT plants under water stress. These results demonstrate the potential for improving SWS tolerance in agronomically important rice cultivar by incorporating Wsi18 gene from a wild rice O. nivara.