50 years of root/drought research at IRRI
Back in the 1960s, drought research at IRRI began by looking at specific roles that rice roots would play in helping plants cope with water stress. In the 1970s, IRRI undertook a significant amount of drought research, most of which laid strong foundations for progress in later years.
In the 2000s, drought research at IRRI expanded to include characterizing root growth of newly developed drought-resistant varieties.
IRRI's Amelia Henry (in this article) and a team of experts recommend that efforts to improve understanding of root function for water uptake continue. In one ongoing study mentioned in the paper, yield-controlling genetic factors called quantitative trait loci (or QTLs) were found to have direct links to root traits.
In addition to genetic aspects, the article recommends looking at the need to more closely characterize the kinds of drought that are happening in farmers' fields to see how drought-resistant rice types might respond to different drought environments.