- OXFORD UNIV PRESS
Seedling vigor, which is controlled by many quantitative trait loci (QTLs), is one of several important agronomic traits for direct-seedling rice systems. However, isolating these QTL genes is laborious and expensive. Here, we combined QTL mapping and microarray profiling to identify QTL genes for seedling vigor. By performing QTL mapping using 82 backcross inbred lines (BILs) of the Koshihikari (japonica) and Habataki (indica) cultivars for the rice initial growth, we identified two QTLs, early-stage plant development1/2 (qEPD1 and qEPD2), whose Koshihikari alleles promote plant height and/or leaf sheath length. Phenotypic analysis of the two substituted lines carrying the Habataki qEPD1 or qEPD2 allele revealed that qEPD2 functioned more dominantly for the initial growth of rice. From the microarray experiment, 55 and 45 candidate genes were found in the qEPD1 and qEPD2 genomic regions, which are expressed differentially between each substitution line (SL) and Koshihikari. Gibberellin 20 oxidase-2 (OsGA20ox2), which is identical to Semi Dwarf1 (SD1), was included among the 55 candidate genes of qEPD1, whereas its paralog, OsGA20ox1, was included among the 45 candidate genes of qEPD2. Consistently, introduction of the Koshihikari OsGA20ox1 allele into SLqEPD2 increaseed its plant height and leaf sheath length significantly relative to the introduction of the Habataki OsGA20ox1 allele. Therefore, microarray profiling could be useful for rapidly screening QTL candidate genes. We concluded that OsGA20ox1 and OsGA20ox2 (SD1) function during the initial growth of rice, but OsGA20ox1 plays a dominant role in increasing plant height and leaf sheath length at the initial growth stage.
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