The morphology of rice (Oryza sativa L.) panicles is an important determinant of grain yield, and elucidation of the genetic control of panicle structure is very important for fulfilling the demand for high yield in breeding programs. In a quantitative trait locus (QTL) study using 82 backcross inbred lines (BILs) derived from Koshihikari and Habataki, 68 QTLs for 25 panicle morphological traits were identified. Gene expression profiling from inflorescence meristems of BILs was obtained. A combination of phenotypic QTL (pQTL) and expression QTL (eQTL) analysis revealed co-localization between pQTLs and eQTLs, consistent with significant correlations between phenotypic traits and gene expression levels. By combining pQTL and eQTL data, two genes were identified as controlling panicle structure: OsMADS18 modulates the average length of the primary rachis and OsFTL1 has pleiotropic effects on the total number of secondary rachides, number of grains per panicle, plant height and the length of flag leaves. Phenotypes were confirmed in RNA interference knocked-down plants and overexpressor lines. The combination of pQTL and eQTL analysis could facilitate identification of genes involved in rice panicle formation.