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Identification of deletion mutants with improved performance under water-limited environments in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 03:13 authored by Cairns, JE, Tina AcunaTina Acuna, Simborio, FA, Dimayuga, G, Lakshmi Praba, M, Leung, H, Torres, R, Lafitte, HR
Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is a semi-aquatic member of the grass family that is poorly adapted to dry environments and has greater sensitivity to water-deficits than other important cereals in this family. To increase productivity in aerobic or water-limited environments rice must overcome its adaptations to flooded environments. Deletion mutants offer an alternative genetic resource for improving drought tolerance. Almost 3500 IR64 deletion mutants were screened under vegetative and reproductive stage drought stress in the field and evaluated for leaf drying and/or grain yield. Seven novel conditional mutants of rice which showed gain of function through continued growth as drought stress developed compared to the wild type were identified. Mutant recovery rate was 0.1%. Further evaluation of putative drought mutants revealed that their average shoot biomass at maturity and grain yield per plant under stress exceeded those of the wild type by two-fold. Studies under controlled conditions confirmed mutants to have continued growth of both roots and shoots as drought developed compared to the wild type, and a tendency for greater water extraction. We propose that deletions in these mutants have affected a regulator of the highly conservative growth response common to irrigated lowland rice cultivars. Our results suggest that screening deletion mutants for performance under managed drought stress in the field could be a highly effective way to identify valuable genetic resources for improved drought response and aerobic adaptation in rice.


Publication title

Field Crops Research








Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

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The definitive version is available at

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Socio-economic Objectives


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