Incomplete panicle exsertion is one of the symptoms of cold injury at the reproductive stage of the rice plant (Oryza sativa L.), which damages grain yield and raises disease incidence. For this reason, panicle exsertion is a better indicator of cold tolerance under field conditions than spikelet sterility, which may also be affected by other climatic factors. This work studies the variability of degree of panicle exsertion in rice, under the Southern Brazilian environmental conditions and determines the inheritance and heritability of this trait. Four rice genotypes of different cool temperature reactions at the reproductive stage were crossed and field evaluated, with the F2 generation, in relation to the degree of panicle exsertion and spikelet fertility. There was variability among the genotypes for panicle exsertion. The F2 generation of the crosses presented continuous distribution and transgressive segregation towards incomplete exsertion, indicating that genes controlling this trait may be complementary distributed between the parents. Heritability was moderate, so selection for complete panicle exsertion should be applied in advanced generations.
Oryza sativa L.; chilling temperature; cold tolerance; complete panicle exsertion; heritability