Rice is an important staple food crop across the world. It is mainly cultivated under irrigated lowland and also rain-fed upland conditions where drought stress is often noticed. Global climate change predicts an intensification of drought stress in future due to uneven rainfall which was witnessed for the last few years. Confronting drought stress can deliver fruitful crop returns in rice and scope for research extents. Drought stress affects the overall plant growth and yield. A prominent improvement has been made during last two decades in our understanding of the mechanisms involved in adaptation and tolerance to drought stress in rice. In order to achieve the marked crop returns from rainfed areas, there is a requisite of drought tolerant rice varieties, and genetic improvement for drought tolerance should be a prime area of concern in the future. A huge rice germplasm is available and good number of the germplasm possess drought tolerance and these genomic regions have been exploited in developing some drought tolerant rice varieties. The application of available genotyping methodologies, the identification of traits of interest, and key genetic regions associated with the drought tolerance have opened new prospects to successfully develop new drought tolerant varieties. This chapter deals with the importance of drought tolerance in rice crop followed by the evolution of molecular markers and breeding techniques in identifying drought tolerant QTL’s/genes and their utilization in the improvement of drought tolerant rice varieties.
Part of the book: Cereal Grains