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Variation in south Asian wheat germplasm for seedling drought tolerance traits

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2009

Umesh R. Rosyara*
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal Plant Science Department, South Dakota State University, PO Box 2140C, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
Amrit A. Ghimire
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal
Sushil Subedi
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal
Ram C. Sharma
CIMMYT International, South Asia Regional Program, Kathmandu, Nepal
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Higher seedling vigour and greater coleoptile length are important for early establishment of wheat crops and subsequently higher grain yield in many dry environments. Seedling vigour includes those seed properties that determine the potential for rapid, uniform emergence and development of normal seedlings under a wide range of field conditions. Genotypes with the widely used gibberellic acid (GA)-insensitive dwarfing genes Rht-B1b and Rht-D1b have good partitioning and grain yield under optimal conditions, but may perform poorly under stressed conditions due to poor crop establishment. Breeding programmes are in search of GA-sensitive dwarfing genes that do not affect seedling vigour under dry conditions. This study evaluated 40 genotypes currently used in wheat breeding programmes of south Asia for seedling vigour-related traits in greenhouse and field experiments during 2006–2007 at IAAS, Rampur, Nepal. Wide variation in coleoptile length, seedling vigour, as well as sensitivity to GA was observed. Among the genotypes studied, there were positive correlations among coleoptile length, leaf width and plant height. Genotypes, SW89-5193, SW89-5422/NL251 and SW89-5422, were found to have longer coleoptile, higher seedling vigour and response to GA application. This shows a promise for their further applications in the breeding programmes.

Short Communication
Copyright © NIAB 2008

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