Combining Ability for Drought Tolerance in Upland Rice Varieties at Reproductive Stage

  •  G. M. Malemba    
  •  F. M. Nzuve    
  •  J. M. Kimani    
  •  M. F. Olubayo    
  •  J. W. Muthomi    


Rice is an important food crop for human population ranking second among the mostly consumed cereal grains worldwide. Upland rice production is greatly constrained by drought stress resulting from rainfall variation patterns. Cultivation of drought tolerant varieties is considered the best option for drought management in rice production. The already released upland rice varieties are drought susceptible and have poor grain attributes hence, the aim of this study was to determine the combining ability for drought tolerance in upland rice. Four upland NERICA and two upland rice varieties were selected as parents for generating F1s crosses following 6 × 6 complete diallel. The generated 30 F1 crosses were advanced to F2 population for field evaluation. The F2 progenies together with six parents were planted in two sites; KALRO-Mwea Center Farm and Kirogo research Farm following a randomized complete block design in three replications. Drought stress was initiated 45 days after sowing after which data was collected on drought and agronomic parameters. The study revealed large genetic variations among the genotypes used. Both GCA and SCA were significant indicating the importance of both additive and non additive gene action in the expression of studied traits. In this study NERICA 2 and NERICA 15 were identified as good combiners for drought tolerance and grain yield under drought conditions. The single crosses namely; NERICA 15 × NERICA 2, NERICA 1 × NERICA 15, NERICA 11 × NERICA 15 and NERICA 2 × NERICA 15 were identified as superior for improving yield under drought conditions.

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