Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 50, Issue 2–3, pp 121–138 | Cite as

Drought tolerance in rice: morphological and molecular genetic consideration

  • A. Manickavelu
  • N. Nadarajan
  • S. K. Ganesh
  • R. P. Gnanamalar
  • R. Chandra Babu
Original Paper


Rice is one of the most important food crop drastically affected by drought in lowland rice ecosystem. Dissecting out the traits of importance and genomic regions influencing the response of drought tolerance and yield traits on grain yield will aid the breeders to know the genetic mechanism of drought tolerance of rice leads to the development of drought tolerant varieties. Grain yield and its components on drought situation of recombinant inbred population (IR 58821/IR 52561) were investigated under lowland managed stress situation in 2003 and 2004 by given importance to the relative water content. Water deficit resulted in significant effect on phenology and grain yield. Best lines were selected for further varietal development programme. Variability studies showed the traits viz., days to 70% relative water content, leaf rolling, leaf drying, harvest index, biomass yield and grain yield offer high scope for improvement for drought tolerance by way of simple selection technique. Correlation and path analysis indicated that, to harness high yielding combined with drought tolerance breeders should give selection pressure on relative water content, panicle length, grains per panicle, harvest index, biomass yield, root/shoot ratio and root length in positive direction, and low scores of leaf rolling, leaf drying and drought recovery rate. Analysis of quantitative trait loci for drought tolerance, yield and its components allowed the identification of 38 regions associated with both drought tolerant and yield traits. Out of these, 18 were closely linked with DNA markers could be used for marker assisted selection in breeding for drought tolerance in rice. Pleiotropism and G × E effects interaction were noticed in some of the traits. Parent IR 58821 contributed favorable alleles for the entire drought related and most of the yield component traits. Identification of traits of importance and their nature of relationship by morphological and molecular level under lowland condition will be useful to improve drought tolerance of rice.


Association analyses Variability analyses Drought Rice QTL mapping 


G  ×  E

Genotype  ×  environmental interaction


Quantitative trait locus


Recombinant inbred line



This research was supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, USA, which provided Ph.D. student fellowship to the corresponding author. RIL seeds and genotypic data were kindly provided by Dr. R. Chandrbabu.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Manickavelu
    • 1
    • 2
  • N. Nadarajan
    • 1
    • 3
  • S. K. Ganesh
    • 1
    • 4
  • R. P. Gnanamalar
    • 1
  • R. Chandra Babu
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Agricultural College and Research InstituteTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityMaduraiIndia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Faculty of HorticultureChiba UniversityMatsudoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Pulses, Centre for Plant Breeding and GeneticsTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityCoimbatoreIndia
  4. 4.National Pulse Research CentreTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityVambanIndia
  5. 5.School of P.G. StudiesTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityCoimbatoreIndia

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