Rice cv. Bahia mutagenized population: a new resource for rice breeding in the Mediterranean basin
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In the Mediterranean basin, the limited availability of rice genetic resources restricts the success of breeding programs. Although mutation induction is a powerful alternative to generate desired novel variations, current rice mutant resources have little relevance in the Mediterranean breeding programs that require well-adapted cultivars for maximum performance. In this work a genome-wide mutation induction has been used on rice cv Bahia, a japonica cultivar well adapted to the Mediterranean climate and cultural practices, to increase its genetic variability and to facilitate the generation and selection of interesting agronomical traits. Bahia mutant collections were generated by irradiating seed batches with either 30 Gy fast neutrons or 250 Gy gamma rays. After initial screening of M2 plants and followed by evaluation of M3 and M4 generations in open field, elite genotypes were selected. The selected lines carried morphological and physiological changes of agronomical interest such as earliness, culm height reduction, yield increase and spontaneous spots appearance in leaves. The mutants are useful as breeding materials for improving varieties in the Mediterranean.