Direct-seeded rice (DSR) is a potential technology for sustainable rice farming as it saves water and labor. However, higher incidence of weed under DSR limits productivity. Therefore, there is a need to develop herbicide tolerant (HT) rice varieties.
We used marker assisted backcross breeding (MABB) to transfer a mutant allele of Acetohydroxy acid synthase ( AHAS ) gene, which confers tolerance to imidazolinone group of herbicides from the donor parent (DP) “Robin” into the genetic background of an elite popular Basmati rice variety Pusa Basmati 1121 (PB 1121). Foreground selection was done using the AHAS gene linked Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) marker RM6844 and background selection was performed using 112 genome-wide SSR markers polymorphic between PB 1121 and Robin. Phenotypic selection for agronomic, Basmati grain and cooking quality traits in each generation was carried out to improve the recovery of recurrent parent phenome (RPP). Finally, a set of 12 BC 4 F 4 near isogenic lines (NILs), with recurrent parent genome (RPG) recovery ranging from 98.66 to 99.55% were developed and evaluated. PB 1121-HT NILs namely 1979-14-7-33-99-10, 1979-14-7-33-99-15 and 1979-14-7-33-99-66 were found superior to PB 1121 in yield with comparable grain and cooking quality traits and herbicide tolerance similar to Robin.
Overall, the present study reports successful development of HT NILs in the genetic background of popular Basmati rice variety PB 1121 by introgression of mutated AHAS allele. This is the first report on the development of HT Basmati rice. Superior NILs are being evaluated in the national Basmati trials, the release of which is likely to provide a viable option for the adoption of DSR technology in Basmati rice cultivation.