Rice is staple food for Asian people and there is urgent need to produce more rice per unit area, which can be enhanced by possibly utilizing the unexplored germplasm for adverse climatic and soil conditions. Among the stress, salinity is profound and gaining prime importance in upcoming years; only possible way is breeding for salt tolerance by utilizing available genetic resources. This study was undertaken to identify promising genotypes based on its genetic diversity evaluated under saline and normal conditions. In the present study, Pokkali showed better visual salt injury score and IR 72593 showed highest grain yield under salinity condition. Cluster analysis is effective in identifying selection of better parents to harness heterosis in germplasm. Among 127 genotypes, cluster analysis resulted in 28 clusters following Tochers method. Cluster VII comprising of 10 genotypes had the highest intra cluster distance indicating the high genetic divergence among the genotypes. The genotypes in Cluster VIII and IX showed minimum inter cluster distance, which is obvious that, these clusters would have been evolved by similar evolutionary procedure. Maximum inter cluster distance was noticed between Cluster XXIV and XXVII. Hybridization among divergent clusters in all possible combinations will exhibit good heterosis for yield and tolerance to salinity.
Key words: Rice, salt tolerance, genetic diversity.
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