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  • 1 Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, Odisha, India
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Saltol, a major QTL for salt exclusion, was derived from ‘Pokkali’, a salt-tolerant rice cultivar. Apart from Pokkali, many genotypes with wide variation for salinity tolerance offer ample scope for identifying new genes or QTLs underlying various tolerance mechanisms. Such genes could be aggregated into high-yielding backgrounds to reinforce a breeding programme. To identify potential donors for salt tolerance and prospective parental combinations for developing high-yielding salt-tolerant cultivars, ten genotypes were subjected to salt stress and evaluated for morpho-physiological traits and marker-allele polymorphism in the Saltol-QTL region. Although the salt-susceptible high-yielding varieties clustered together in a 3-D plot, principal component analysis showed marked spatial isolation among the tolerant genotypes. Unlike Pokkali and its derivative FL496, Rahspunjar maintained a higher level of K+ despite high Na+ influx in shoots. The wider genetic distances observed at both phenotypic and genotypic levels suggest the possibility of getting transgressive segregants among the offspring of crosses between Rahspunjar and Gayatri or Swarna Sub1. Similarly, SR 26B, which coped with the stress by diluting the Na+ load by maintaining a higher growth rate, differed from Pokkali or Nona Bokra: these two coped with the stress by regulating the transmission of Na+ from roots to photosynthetically active sites. The F2:3 population derived from Savitri × SR 26B showed wide morpho-physiological diversity for salt tolerance. SR 26B was the most distant genotype from Pokkali in the Saltol QTL region and was salt tolerant despite the absence of Pokkali alleles in this region.

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