Nodal root anatomy was compared among twelve upland and lowland rice (Oryza sative L.) varieties with tropical origin which were grown in hydroponic culture and under field conditions. The traditional upland japonica varieties showed the largest diameter of root, stele, and xylem vessel followed by modern upland varieties. There was a clear varietal difference in the ratio of stele to root diameter, which was associated with the genetic group rather than with the ecosystems. The japonica varieties had a significantly larger stele diameter relative to the root diameter than indica and aus varieties. The indica and aus varieties displayed more xylem vessels per unit area of stele than the japonica varieties, but the diameter of xylem vessel was smaller. Equivalent xylem vessel diameter (De) was more dependent on the number of xylem in the indica varieties than in the japonica varieties. Distinctly different types of sclerenchyma anatomy were identified among the varieties. The development of sclerenchyma was classified into four different types based on thickening of cell wall in the outer cortical parenchyma and the number of sclerenchymatous cell layers. Like the xylem anatomy, the varietal differences in sclerenchyma development were more associated with genetic group rather than the ecotype. The japonica varieties had higher frequency of the types which have a doubled cell layer in sclerenchyma with thick cell wall than indica and aus. The difference among the genetic groups was nearly consistent across growing conditions, aerobic and submerged soils. These results indicated that sclerenchyma development is controlled by a genetic factor.
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