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Introgression of Drought Tolerance into Elite Basmati Rice Variety through Marker-Assisted Backcrossing

Muhammad Sabar1,2,#, Shahzad Amir Naveed1,3,4,#,*, Shahid Masood Shah5, Abdul Rehman Khan5, Muhammad Musaddiq Shah6, Tahir Awan1, Muhammad Ramzan Khan3, Zaheer Abbas3, Muhammad Arif1,7,*

1 National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad, 38000, Pakistan
2 Rice Research Institute, Kala Shah Kaku, 39020, Pakistan
3 National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB), Islamabad, 44000, Pakistan
4 Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100081, China
5 Department of Biotechnology, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad, 22020, Pakistan
6 Department of Biotechnology, University of Sialkot, Sialkot, 51310, Pakistan
7 Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Islamabad, 44000, Pakistan

* Corresponding Authors: Shahzad Amir Naveed. Email: ; Muhammad Arif. Emial:
# Both authors contributed equally

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Physiological and Molecular Interventions in Improving Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2023, 92(5), 1421-1438.


Drought is one of the major abiotic threat to rice production in the context of climate change. Super Basmati is an elite, fine grain basmati rice variety grown in Punjab, Pakistan. Due to drought sensitive in nature, its yield has been facing an alarming situation in production because of gradual decrease in irrigated water for a couple of years. Three reported novel QTLs for drought tolerance were selected for incorporation into Super Basmati by employing marker assisted selection strategy. IR55419-04 with novel QTLs was used as a donor parent. Foreground selection was performed by applying PCR based QTL linked SSR markers followed by recombinant selection by using 2–4 flanking markers. Background selection was exercised by using polymorphic SSR markers for maximum genome recovery of the Super Basmati. The individuals homozygous at the target QTLs and with maximum background of Super Basmati at the rest of the non-target genome was selected for evaluation of drought tolerance. Under drought stress conditions, the yields of all introgressed lines (ILs) were 44.2%–125.7% higher than recurrent parent. Six superior ILs that are drought tolerant and very similar to Super Basmati in terms of agronomic and grain quality traits are marked for release as drought-tolerant varieties in arid regions or for use in breeding programs of high grain quality and drought-tolerant parents.


Cite This Article

Sabar, M., Naveed, S. A., Shah, S. M., Khan, A. R., Shah, M. M. et al. (2023). Introgression of Drought Tolerance into Elite Basmati Rice Variety through Marker-Assisted Backcrossing. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 92(5), 1421–1438.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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