Molecular dissection of the genetic relationships of source, sink and transport tissue with yield traits in rice
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Source, sink, and translocation capacity of assimilates play important roles during the formation of grain yield. The present study was conducted to characterize the genetic bases of traits representing source, sink and transport tissue, and their relationships with yield traits in rice, by analyzing QTLs for these traits and various ratios among them. The genetic materials were a recombinant inbred population derived from a cross between two indica cultivars Zhenshan 97 and Minghui 63, the parents of the most-widely grown hybrid rice in China. Using a linkage map that covers a total of 1,796 cM based on 221 molecular marker loci, a total of 81 QTLs were identified for the 15 traits studied (three leaf areas as the source, total spikelets per panicle as the sink, the number of large vascular bundles in the stem as transport tissue, three source to sink ratios, three transport tissue to source ratios, one transport tissue to sink ratio and three yield traits). The amount of variation explained by individual QTLs ranged from 1.12% to 24.14%. Five QTLs were identified to show interaction effects with the environment, which explained from 3.19% to 9.15% of the variation. The results showed that close linkage or pleiotropy is the genetic basis for the correlations of grain yield traits with source, sink, transport tissue and the various ratios among them. Of the 25 QTLs identified for source-sink-transport tissue trait, and 43 for various ratios, 8 and 22 QTLs, respectively, were mapped to the similar genomic blocks harboring QTLs for yield traits, especially for grain weight. Co-location of QTLs for yield traits with those for ratios among source, sink and transport tissue may provide a genetic explanation for the physiological expression of yield traits, and also suggest that improvement in ratios among source, sink and transport tissue may result in improvement in yield potential.
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