Exploring novel genetic sources of salinity tolerance in rice through molecular and physiological characterization
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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Agricultural productivity is increasingly being affected by the build-up of salinity in soils and water worldwide. The genetic base of salt-tolerant rice donors being used in breeding is relatively narrow and needs broadening to breed varieties with wider adaptation to salt-affected areas. This study evaluated a large set of rice accessions of diverse origins to identify and characterize novel sources of salt tolerance. METHODS: Diversity analysis was performed on 107 germplasm accessions using a genome-wide set of 376 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, along with characterization of allelic diversity at the major quantitative trait locus Saltol Sixty-nine accessions were further evaluated for physiological traits likely associated with responses to salt stress during the seedling stage. KEY RESULTS: Three major clusters corresponding to the indica, aus and aromatic subgroups were identified. The largest group was indica, with the salt-tolerant Pokkali accessions in one sub-cluster, while a set of Bangladeshi landraces, including Akundi, Ashfal, Capsule, Chikirampatnai and Kutipatnai, were in a different sub-cluster. A distinct aus group close to indica contained the salt-tolerant landrace Kalarata, while a separate aromatic group closer to japonica rice contained a number of traditional, but salt-sensitive Bangladeshi landraces. These accessions have different alleles at the Saltol locus. Seven landraces - Akundi, Ashfal, Capsule, Chikirampatnai, Jatai Balam, Kalarata and Kutipatnai - accumulated less Na and relatively more K, maintaining a lower Na/K ratio in leaves. They effectively limit sodium transport to the shoot. CONCLUSIONS: New salt-tolerant landraces were identified that are genetically and physiologically distinct from known donors. These landraces can be used to develop better salt-tolerant varieties and could provide new sources of quantitative trait loci/alleles for salt tolerance for use in molecular breeding. The diversity observed within this set and in other donors suggests multiple mechanisms that can be combined for higher salt tolerance.
author list (cited authors)
Rahman, M. A., Thomson, M. J., Shah-E-Alam, M., de Ocampo, M., Egdane, J., & Ismail, A. M.