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Agronomy 2019, 9(2), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9020079

Root Distribution and Its Impacts on the Drought Tolerance Capacity of Hybrid Rice in the Sichuan Basin Area of China

1
College of Life Science and Engineering, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mian Yang 621010, China
2
Key Laboratory of Southwest Rice Biology and Genetic Breeding, Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Rice and Sorghum, Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Science, Deyang 618000, China
3
Agweathernet, Washington State University, Prosser, WA 99350, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Abstract

Drought is one of the major factors limiting rice yield worldwide. A total of 46 hybrid rice varieties were chosen to investigate their root distribution and their response to drought. A field experiment was carried out in a dry shed building to evaluate the drought tolerance capacity of hybrid rice varieties on the basis of CTIRDE (complex tolerance index of rice under drought environment) values. Next, the experiment was conducted in a specially designed pot system and seed bags to analyze the root distribution and activity of antioxidant enzymes in different rice varieties. Moreover, the DEEPER ROOTING 1 (DRO1) gene was sequenced to elucidate its role in the root distribution of typical rice varieties. On the basis of CTIRDE values, the 46 hybrid rice varieties were classified as tolerant (CTIRDE ≥ 0.75), semi-tolerant (0.75 > CTIRDE > 0.65), or sensitive (CTIRDE ≤ 0.65) to drought stress. The tolerant varieties (Chuanguyou208 and Deyou4727) displayed a significantly larger length, had higher number and weight of roots in the 30–50 cm soil layer, and exhibited a significantly higher activity of Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Peroxidase (POD) enzymes in roots during the drought stress period. The DRO1 gene sequencing results revealed that the tolerant and sensitive varieties exhibited a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the 3-exon region, and the tolerant varieties (Chuanguyou208 and Deyou4727) exhibited a larger root growth angle with the horizontal axis, hence developing a deeper root system as compared with the other two group varieties. A significant correlation was found not only between the DRO1 gene and root distribution but also between DRO1 and the activity of SOD and POD enzymes. Conclusively, as a key feature, a deep root system enabled tolerant rice varieties (Chuanguyou208 and Deyou4727) to avoid drought stress by absorbing more water stored in deep soil layers. The root distribution, activity of POD and SOD enzymes in roots, and DRO1 gene can be used to screen tolerant rice varieties that can survive better under drought stress during the seedling stage of rice growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: rice; drought; CTIRDE; root distribution; DRO1 rice; drought; CTIRDE; root distribution; DRO1
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Wang, X.; Samo, N.; Li, L.; Wang, M.; Qadir, M.; Jiang, K.; Qin, J.; Rasul, F.; Yang, G.; Hu, Y. Root Distribution and Its Impacts on the Drought Tolerance Capacity of Hybrid Rice in the Sichuan Basin Area of China. Agronomy 2019, 9, 79.

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