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Drought is a serious bottleneck in the production of rice globally. For this, an experiment was conducted in-vitro on six rice genotypes viz. BRRI Dhan-28, Begunbahar, Burikatari, Pashpai, Dular and Begunbichi to investigate the effect polyethylene glycol (PEG) mediated artificial drought on morpho-physiological parameters such as germination percentage, shoot length, root length, fresh weight, dry weight, turgid weight, relative water content and proline accumulation. Here, different doses of PEG-6000 viz. 0gL-1, 15gL-1, 30gL-1, 45gL-1 and 60gL-1 were used with Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium. The results demonstrated that BRRI Dhan-28, Burikatari and Dular revealed greater performance at control conditions but at the highest degree of water stress conditions only Burikatari showed higher mean value for all parameters studied. Again, Begunbichi followed by BRRI Dhan-28 exhibited the lowest mean value for almost all traits except for proline accumulation. Here, water stress decreased the performance of morpho-physiological characters except proline accumulation in rice. The cluster analysis was performed and distributed into three groups where there was a significant variation among the clusters at different water stress conditions. Here, the genotype Burikatari is more diverse giving maximum Euclidian distances in drought treatments. It could be considered as a parent in the hybridization program against Begunbahar, Dular and Paspai. Therefore, considering the mean performances and cluster analysis, Burikatari exhibited greater performances against the highest degree of drought conditions. This genotype may bear drought-tolerant gene for which could be utilized for further development of drought-tolerant variety and gene transfer.
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