Ninety-three accessions representing 21 species from the genus Oryza were examined for restriction fragment length polymorphism. The majority (78%) of the accessions, for which five individuals were tested, were found to be monomorphic. Most of the polymorphic accessions segregated for only one or two probes and appeared to be mixed pure lines. For most of the Oryza species tested, the majority of the genetic variation (83%) was found between accessions from different species with only 17% between accessions within species. Tetraploid species were found to have, on average, nearly 50% more alleles (unique fragments) per individual than diploid species reflecting the allopolyploid nature of their genomes.
Classification of Oryza species based on RFLPs matches remarkably well previous classifications based on morphology, hybridization and isozymes. In the current study, four species complexes could be identified corresponding to those proposed by Vaughan (1989): the O. ridleyi complex, the O. meyeriana complex, the O. officinalis complex and the O. sativa complex. Within the O. sativa complex, accessions of O. rufipogon from Asia (including O. nivara) and perennial forms of O. rufipogon from Australia clustered together with accessions of cultivated rice O. sativa. Surprisingly, indica and japonica (the two major subspecies of cultivated rice) showed closer affinity with different accessions of wild O. Rufipogon than to each other, supporting a hypothesis of independent domestication events for these two types of rice. Australian annual wild rice O. meridionalis (previously classified as O. rufipogon) was clearly distinct from all other O. rufipogon accessions supporting its recent reclassification as O. meridionalis (Ng et al. 1981). Using genetic relatedness as a criterion, it was possible to identify the closest living diploid relatives of the currently known tetraploid rice species. Results from these analyses suggest that BBCC tetraploids (O. malampuzhaensis, O. punctata and O. minuta) are either of independent origins or have experienced introgression from sympatric C-genome diploid rice species. CCDD tetraploid species from America (O. latifolia, O. alta and O. grandiglumis) may be of ancient origin since they show a closer affinity to each other than to any known diploid species. Their closest living diploid relatives belong to C genome (O. eichingeri) and E genome (O. Australiensis) species. Comparisons among African, Australian and Asian rice species suggest that Oryza species in Africa and Australia are of polyphyletic origin and probably migrated to these regions at different times in the past.
Finally, on a practical note, the majority of probes used in this study detected polymorphism between cultivated rice and its wild relatives. Hence, RFLP markers and maps based on such markers are likely to be very useful in monitoring and aiding introgression of genes from wild rice into modern cultivars.
OryzaRice Restriction fragment length polymorphism Phylogeny