The inheritance of grain quality is more complicated than that of other agronomic traits in cereals due to epistasis, maternal and cytoplasmic effects, and the triploid nature of endosperm. In the present study, an established rice DH population derived from anther culture of an indica/japonica hybrid was used for genetic analysis of rice grain quality. A total of five parameters, amylose content (AC), alkali-spreading score (ASS), gel consistency (GC), percentage of grain with a white core (PGWC) and the square of the white core (SWC), were estimated for the DH lines and the parent varieties. For each parent, the value of each parameter was relatively stable in three locations, Beijing, Hangzhou and Chengdu, while the differences between the parents were significant for all five parameters. AC showed a bimodal distribution, and the distribution of ASS was skewed toward the value of JX17, while the other three parameters displayed continuous distributions among the DH lines with partially transgressive segregations. For AC, a minor and a major gene were found on chromosomes 5 and 6 respectively. The major gene, which should be an allele of wx, explained 91.9% of the total variation. For GC, two QTLs were identified on chromosomes 2 and 7 respectively. For ASS, a minor and a major gene were both located on chromosome 6. The major gene should be the same locus as the alkali degeneration gene (alk). Genetic linkage between alk and wx was found in QTL mapping. For PGWC, two QTLs were located on chromosomes 8 and 12. Only a minor QTL was found for SWC on chromosome 3. The results and the molecular markers presented here may be useful in rice breeding for grain quality improvement.
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