JOURNAL ARTICLE

Combination of Eight Alleles at Four Quantitative Trait Loci Determines Grain Length in Rice

Yuxiang Zeng, Zhijuan Ji, Zhihua Wen, Yan Liang, Changdeng Yang
PloS One 2016, 11 (3): e0150832
26942914
Grain length is an important quantitative trait in rice (Oryza sativa L.) that influences both grain yield and exterior quality. Although many quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for grain length have been identified, it is still unclear how different alleles from different QTLs regulate grain length coordinately. To explore the mechanisms of QTL combination in the determination of grain length, five mapping populations, including two F2 populations, an F3 population, an F7 recombinant inbred line (RIL) population, and an F8 RIL population, were developed from the cross between the U.S. tropical japonica variety 'Lemont' and the Chinese indica variety 'Yangdao 4' and grown under different environmental conditions. Four QTLs (qGL-3-1, qGL-3-2, qGL-4, and qGL-7) for grain length were detected using both composite interval mapping and multiple interval mapping methods in the mapping populations. In each locus, there was an allele from one parent that increased grain length and another allele from another parent that decreased it. The eight alleles in the four QTLs were analyzed to determine whether these alleles act additively across loci, and lead to a linear relationship between the predicted breeding value of QTLs and phenotype. Linear regression analysis suggested that the combination of eight alleles determined grain length. Plants carrying more grain length-increasing alleles had longer grain length than those carrying more grain length-decreasing alleles. This trend was consistent in all five mapping populations and demonstrated the regulation of grain length by the four QTLs. Thus, these QTLs are ideal resources for modifying grain length in rice.

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