IMPROVING DROUGHT TOLERANCE IN RICE: A MINI REVIEW
Drought is a serious environmental stress and the major constraint to rice productivity. The extents of yield losses depend on both severity and duration of the drought stress. Drought affects the morphology of rice crop, eliciting responses at physiological and molecular levels. Improving drought resistance in rice has been made through various approaches including agronomic management practices to improved soil moisture status of the target environment. Primary approach for improving drought tolerance in rice is through yield based selection. Alternatively, secondary traits have been targeted for screening plants; however, many times it shows less correlation with the yield. In addition, efforts have been made for drought mitigation using plant growth regulators and osmoprotectants. Transgenic rice expressing HVA1, LEA proteins, MAP kinase, DREB and endo-1, 3-glucanase has been generated, which has shown better tolerance to drought stress. However, none of these are tested in the target environment; therefore utility of such product still remains obscure. This review presents an overview of different drought types, crop responses at physiological level and various approaches for drought breeding integrating conventional, molecular and genetic engineering. In addition importance of drought mitigation through resource management practices for maximising yield and water productivity is highlighted.
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