Genetic differentiation of wild relatives of rice as assessed by RFLP analysis
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To study genetic diversity and relationships of wild relatives of rice, 58 accessions of Oryza rufipogon, Oryza nivara, Oryza sativa f. spontanea and the cultivated Oryza sativa, representing a wide range of their distribution, were analyzed using the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) technique. All 30-used RFLP probes detected polymorphisms among the Oryza accessions, with an average of 3.8 polymorphic fragments per probe. Considerable genetic diversity was scored among the Oryza accessions with a similarity coefficient ranging from 0.28 to 0.93; but the cluster analysis of the accessions did not show an apparent grouping based on the species classification, instead they were scattered randomly in different groups. Noticeably, the Oryza accessions from the same geographic region, or near-by geographic regions, tended to be clustered in the same groups. The indica rice varieties showed relatively high genetic diversity and were scattered in different groups of their wild relatives, but the japonica varieties showed a relatively low variation and formed an independent group. It is concluded from the molecular analytical result that: (1) the four Oryza taxa have a remarkably close relationship and their independent species status need to be carefully reviewed; (2) geographic isolation has played a significant role in the differentiation of the Oryza accessions; therefore, a wide geographic range needs to be covered in collecting wild rice germplasm for ex situ conservation; and (3) the conventional conclusion of indica rice being directly domesticated from its ancestral wild species, and japonica rice being derived from indica, gains support from our data.
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