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Introgression of Root and Water Use Efficiency Traits Enhances Water Productivity: An Evidence for Physiological Breeding in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Dharmappa, Prathibha M., Doddaraju, Pushpa, Malagondanahalli, Mohankumar V., Rangappa, Raju B., Mallikarjuna, N. M., Rajendrareddy, Sowmya H., Ramanjinappa, Ramachandra, Mavinahalli, Rajanna P., Prasad, Trichy Ganesh, Udayakumar, Makarla, Sheshshayee, Sreeman M.
Rice 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 14
Oryza sativa, aerobic conditions, agronomy, backcrossing, carbon, carbon metabolism, chromosome mapping, crop yield, genetic improvement, genome, genotype, high-yielding varieties, introgression, leaves, phenotype, rice, selfing, stable isotopes, turgor, water harvesting, water use efficiency
BACKGROUND: Semi-irrigated aerobic cultivation of rice has been suggested as a potential water saving agronomy. However, suitable cultivars are needed in order to sustain yield levels. An introgression of water mining and water use efficiency (WUE) traits is the most appropriate strategy for a comprehensive genetic enhancement to develop such rice cultivars. RESULTS: We report a novel strategy of phenotyping and marker-assisted backcross breeding to introgress water mining (root) and water use efficiency (WUE) traits into a popular high yielding cultivar, IR-64. Trait donor genotypes for root (AC-39020) and WUE (IET-16348) were crossed separately and the resultant F₁s were inter-mated to generate double cross F₁s (DCF₁). Progenies of three generations of backcross followed by selfing were charatcerised for target phenotype and genome integration. A set of 260 trait introgressed lines were identified. Root weight and root length of TILs were 53% and 23.5% higher, while Δ¹³C was 2.85‰ lower indicating a significant increase in WUE over IR-64. Five best TILs selected from BC₃F₃ generation showed 52% and 63% increase in yield over IR-64 under 100% and 60% FC, respectively. The trait introgressed lines resembled IR64 with more than 97% of genome recovered with a significant yield advantage under semi-irrigated aerobic conditions The study validated markers identified earlier by association mapping. CONCLUSION: Introgression of root and WUE into IR64, resulted in an excellent yield advantage even when cultivated under semi-irrigated aerobic condition. The study provided a proof-of-concept that maintaining leaf turgor and carbon metabolism results in improved adaptation to water limited conditions and sustains productivity. A marker based multi-parent backcross breeding is an appropriate approach for trait introgression. The trait introgressed lines developed can be effectively used in future crop improvement programs as donor lines for both root and WUE.