QTLs for branching, floret formation, and pre-flowering floret abortion of rice panicle in a temperate japonica × tropical japonica cross
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A large panicle with numerous florets is essential for improving rice ( Oryza sativa L.) yield. Rice panicle size is determined by such underlying morphogenetic processes as: ( 1) primary branch formation on the panicle axis; ( 2) floret formation on the primary branches ( mainly determined by the secondary branch formation); and ( 3) pre-flowering abortion of florets in the panicle. We examined QTLs for these processes to understand how they are integrated into panicle size. We developed 106 backcross-inbred lines (BC1F4) from a cross between 'Akihikari' ( a temperate japonica) and 'IRAT109' ( a tropical japonica) and constructed a genetic map. One QTL detected on chromosome 2, with a large effect (R=0.30) on the number of florets per panicle, affected both primary branch formation on the panicle axis and floret formation on the primary branches. In addition, three QTLs that affect only one of these two processes were identified on chromosomes 4, 9, and 11, each having a subsidiary effect on the number of florets per panicle (R-2 = 0.04 - 0.07). QTLs for pre-flowering floret abortion were detected at three different regions of the genome ( chromosomes 1, 10, and 11). This is the first report on QTLs for pre-flowering floret abortion in grasses. The absence of a co-location between QTLs suggests that floret formation and abortion are not directly linked causally. These results demonstrate that studying the partitioning of panicle size into these underlying morphogenetic components would be helpful in understanding the complicated genetic control of panicle size.
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