Coastal rice (O. sativa) landraces that have adaptively evolved in different ecological niches offer a unique opportunity to dissect salinity tolerance traits using molecular and cell biological tools for further breeding and the salinity tolerance in a complex multigenic trait. A comparative analysis of saline tolerant wild rice species with cultivated rice provided the basis in understanding the molecular mechanisms and phylogeny of these plants. Molecular research work has been carried out with respect to 44 saline tolerant rice landraces from different coastal regions of India. These genotyped landraces show significant variation in root and shoot growth, as well as root/shoot sodium content under salinity that is genotype dependent. These landraces are now being examined with regard to root traits under salinity in both greenhouse and field conditions to identify good genotypes with optimal root architecture (under salinity) for rice breeding.