Quantitative trait loci associated with traits determining grain and stover yield in pearl millet under terminal drought stress conditions.

Rattan S. Yadav, C. T. Hash, F. R. Bidinger, G. P. Cavan, Catherine J. Howarth

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Drought stress during the reproductive stage is one of the most important environmental factors reducing the grain yield and yield stability of pearl millet. A QTL mapping approach has been used in this study to understand the genetic and physiological basis of drought tolerance in pearl millet and to provide a more-targeted approach to improving the drought tolerance and yield of this crop in water-limited environments. The aim was to identify specific genomic regions associated with the enhanced tolerance of pearl millet to drought stress during the flowering and grain-filling stages. Testcrosses of a set of mapping-population progenies, derived from a cross of two inbred pollinators that differed in their response to drought, were evaluated in a range of managed terminal drought-stress environments. A number of genomic regions were associated with drought tolerance in terms of both grain yield and its components. For example, a QTL associated with grain yield per se and for the drought tolerance of grain yield mapped on linkage group 2 and explained up to 23% of the phenotypic variation. Some of these QTLs were common across stress environments whereas others were specific to only a particular stress environment. All the QTLs that contributed to increased drought tolerance did so either through better than average maintenance (compared to non-stress environments) of harvest index, or harvest index and biomass productivity. It is concluded that there is considerable potential for marker-assisted backcross transfer of selected QTLs to the elite parent of the mapping population and for their general use in the improvement of pearl millet productivity in water-limited environments
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2002


  • pearl millet
  • drought tolerance
  • grain yield
  • quantitative trait loci
  • genetic mapping
  • marker-assisted selection


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