RESULTS: The GY reductions in RS trials compared to NS trials ranged from 79 to 99 %. Plant height (PH) was reduced and days to flowering (DTF) was delayed under RS. Eleven BC1F5 MRQ74 PLs with yield advantages of 1009 to 3473 kg ha(-1) under RS and with yields equivalent to MRQ74 under NS trials were identified as promising drought tolerance PLs. Five best PLs, IR 98010-126-708-1-4, IR 98010-126-708-1-3, IR 98010-126-708-1-5, IR 99616-44-94-1-1, and IR 99616-44-94-1-2 with a yield advantage of more than 1000 kg ha(-1) under RS and with yield potential equivalent to that of MRQ74 under NS were selected. The effect of three drought grain yield QTLs under RS in MRQ74 was validated. Under NS, PLs with two qDTY combinations (qDTY 2.2 + qDTY 12.1 ) performed better than PLs with other qDTY combinations, indicating the presence of a positive interaction between qDTY 2.2 and qDTY 12.1 in the MRQ74 background.
CONCLUSION: Drought tolerant MRQ74 PLs with a yield advantage of more than 1000 kg ha(-1) under RS were developed. Differential yield advantages of different combinations of the qDTYs indicate a differential synergistic relationship among qDTYs.
RESULTS: The drought screening was successful in screening germplasm with a yield reduction of up to 60% and heritability for grain yield under drought was up to 78%. There was a wider phenotypic and molecular diversity within the panel, indicating the suitability of the population for quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping. Structure analyses clearly grouped the accessions into three subgroups with admixtures. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) analysis revealed that LD decreased with an increase in distance between marker pairs and the LD decay varied from 5-20 cM. The Mixed Linear model-based structured association mapping identified 80 marker trait associations (MTA) for grain yield (GY), plant height (PH) and days to flowering (DTF). Seven MTA were identified for GY under drought stress, four of these MTA were consistently identified in at least two of the three analyses. Most of these MTA identified were on chromosomes 2, 5, 10, 11 and 12, and their phenotypic variance (PV) varied from 5% to 19%. The in silico analysis of drought QTL regions revealed the association of several drought-responsive genes conferring drought tolerance. The major-effect QTLs are useful in marker-assisted QTL pyramiding to improve drought tolerance.
CONCLUSION: The results have clearly shown that structured association mapping is one of the feasible options to identify major-effect QTLs for drought tolerance-related traits in rice.