The genotypic variation of oxidative damage under oxidative and drought stresses was evaluated for a total of 67 rice cultivars consisting of 61 from the rice diversity research set of germplasm and 6 high-yielding varieties. The maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and the membrane stability index (MSI) were measured to assess the oxidative damage induced by methyl viologen (MV) for oxidative stress and polyethylene glycol (PEG) for drought stress. Considerable variations in Fv/Fm and MSI among the cultivars in MV treatment indicated the existence of genotypic diversity in the susceptibility to oxidative damage. The weak relationships of Fv/Fm and MSI between MV and PEG treatment suggested that mechanisms other than oxidative stress tolerance affected the genotypic diversity of oxidative damage in PEG treatment. We used principal component analysis to quantify the cross-tolerance to oxidative damage under MV and PEG treatments: cross-tolerance was higher in cultivars in the japonica group than in the indica groups and higher in the improved cultivars than in the landraces. These results suggest that genotypic diversity of cross-tolerance is related to adaptation to the ecosystem where the genotypes originated and that the characteristics responsible for the tolerance to oxidative damage have been selected during breeding for improved grain yield.
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