In this study, the genetic mapping of the tolerance of root growth to 13.3 μM arsenate [As(V)] using the Bala×Azucena population is improved, and candidate genes for further study are identified. A remarkable three-gene model of tolerance is advanced, which appears to involve epistatic interaction between three major genes, two on chromosome 6 and one on chromosome 10. Any combination of two of these genes inherited from the tolerant parent leads to the plant having tolerance. Lists of potential positional candidate genes are presented. These are then refined using whole genome transcriptomics data and bioinformatics. Physiological evidence is also provided that genes related to phosphate transport are unlikely to be behind the genetic loci conferring tolerance. These results offer testable hypotheses for genes related to As(V) tolerance that might offer strategies for mitigating arsenic (As) accumulation in consumed rice. © 2008 The Author(s).