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Identification of quantitative trait loci and epistatic interactions for plant height and heading date in rice

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Appropriate heading date and plant height are prerequisites for attaining the desired yield level in rice breeding programs. In this study, we analyzed the genetic bases of heading date and plant height at both single- locus and two-locus levels, using a population of 240 F2:3 families derived from a cross between two elite rice lines. Measurements for the traits were obtained over 2 years in replicated field trials. A linkage map was constructed with 151 polymorphic marker loci, based on which interval mapping was performed using Mapmaker/QTL. The analyses detected six QTLs for plant height and six QTLs for heading date; collectively the QTLs for heading date accounted for a much greater amount of phenotypic variation than did the QTLs for plant height. Two-way analyses of variance, with all possible two-locus combinations, detected large numbers (from 101 to 257) of significant digenic interactions in the 2 years for both traits involving markers distributed in the entire genome; 22 and 39 were simultaneously detected in both years for plant height and heading date, respectively. Each of the interactions individually accounted for only a very small portion of the phenotypic variation. The majority of the significant interactions involved marker loci that did not detect significant effects by single-locus analyses, and many of the QTLs detected by single-locus analyses were involved in epistatic interactions. The results clearly demonstrated the importance of epistatic interactions in the genetic bases of heading date and plant height.

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Received: 5 May 2001 / Accepted: 3 August 2001

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Yu, S., Li, J., Xu, C. et al. Identification of quantitative trait loci and epistatic interactions for plant height and heading date in rice. Theor Appl Genet 104, 619–625 (2002).

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