Conservation and characterization of indigenous rice germplasm adapted to temperate/cooler environments of Kashmir valley

Adoption of modem agricultural technology vis-a-vis, the introduction of new high yielding exotic varieties has largely endangered the rice genetic diversity that got adapted to the temperate environments of Kashmir since their first domestication. This germplasm resource is diverse in morphology, grain characteristics, quality parameters, maturity period and response to biotic/ abiotic stresses. Sixty six indigenous rice cultivars adapted to agro-climatic conditions of Kashmir were collected, evaluated under different micro-and macroenvironments and characterized for morphological, maturity, yield, yield component traits, and quality parameters. Most of these cultivars got grouped into cold-tolerant Indica rice, with a few under Japonica rice. Most of the cultivars possessed genes for quality rice, better recovery of milled rice and higher head rice recovery, but, by and large, were poor yielders despite vigorous growth, usually medium in tillering and with lesser grains panicle-1. Presence of high G x E interaction revealed that minor genes and modifying factors have played a significant role during adaptation to a particular macro-environment. Genotypic coefficient of variation was high for grain yield plot-1, moderate for tillers plant-1, grains panicle-1, 1000-grain weight, amylose content and gelatinization temperature and low for maturity traits, plant height, head rice recovery, milled rice recovery and amylose content. The grains of all these cultivars are bold and sticky on cooking. Significant variation in grain colour (blackish brown and creamy white) and aroma exists revealing constellation of elite allelic resources in this set of germplasm.