Gene actions of QTLs affecting several agronomic traits resolved in a recombinant inbred rice population and two backcross populations
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To understand the types of gene action controlling seven quantitative traits in rice, we carried out quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in order to distinguish between the main-effect QTLs (M-QTLs) and digenic epistatic QTLs (E-QTLs) responsible for the trait performance of 254 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from rice varieties Lemont/Teqing and two backcross hybrid (BCF1) populations derived from these RILs. We identified 44 M- QTL and 95 E-QTL pairs in the RI and BCF1 populations as having significant effects on the mean values and mid-parental heterosis of heading date, plant height, flag leaf length, flag leaf width, panicle length, spikelet number and spikelet fertility. The E-QTLs detected collectively explained a larger portion of the total phenotypic variation than the M-QTLs in both the RI and BCF1 populations. In both BCF1 populations, over-dominant (or under-dominant) loci were more important than additive and complete or partially dominant loci for M-QTLs and E-QTL pairs, thereby supporting prior findings that overdominance resulting from epistatic loci are the primary genetic basis of inbreeding depression and heterosis in rice.
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