Background and aims Basmati rice grown in the Indian subcontinent is highly valued for its unique culinary qualities. Production is, however, often constrained by diseases such as bacterial blight (BB), blast and sheath blight (ShB). The present study developed Basmati rice with inbuilt resistance to BB, blast and ShB using molecular marker-assisted selection.
Methodology The rice cultivar ‘Improved Pusa Basmati 1’ (carrying the BB resistance genes xa13 and Xa21) was used as the recurrent parent and cultivar ‘Tetep’ (carrying the blast resistance gene Pi54 and ShB resistance quality trait loci (QTL), qSBR11-1) was the donor. Marker-assisted foreground selection was employed to identify plants possessing resistance alleles in the segregating generations along with stringent phenotypic selection for faster recovery of the recurrent parent genome (RPG) and phenome (RPP). Background analysis with molecular markers was used to estimate the recovery of RPG in improved lines.
Principal results Foreground selection coupled with stringent phenotypic selection identified plants homozygous for xa13, Xa21 and Pi54, which were advanced to BC2F5 through pedigree selection. Marker-assisted selection for qSBR11-1 in BC2F5 using flanking markers identified seven homozygous families. Background analysis revealed that RPG recovery was up to 89.5%. Screening with highly virulent isolates of BB, blast and ShB showed that the improved lines were resistant to all three diseases and were on a par with ‘Improved Pusa Basmati 1’ for yield, duration and Basmati grain quality.
Conclusions This is the first report of marker-assisted transfer of genes conferring resistance to three different diseases in rice wherein genes xa13 and Xa21 for BB resistance, Pi54 for blast resistance, and a major QTL qSBR11-1 have been combined through marker-assisted backcross breeding. In addition to offering the potential for release as cultivars, the pyramided lines will serve as useful donors of gene(s) for BB, blast and ShB in future Basmati rice breeding programmes.