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QTL × environment interactions in rice. I. Heading date and plant height

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Abstract

One hundred twenty six doubled-haploid (DH) rice lines were evaluated in nine diverse Asian environments to reveal the genetic basis of genotype × environment interactions (GEI) for plant height (PH) and heading date (HD). A subset of lines was also evaluated in four water-limited environments, where the environmental basis of G × E could be more precisely defined. Responses to the environments were resolved into individual QTL × environment interactions using replicated phenotyping and the mixed linear-model approach. A total of 37 main-effect QTLs and 29 epistatic QTLs were identified. On average, these QTLs were detectable in 56% of the environments. When detected in multiple environments, the main effects of most QTLs were consistent in direction but varied considerably in magnitude across environments. Some QTLs had opposite effects in different environments, particularly in water-limited environments, indicating that they responded to the environments differently. Inconsistent QTL detection across environments was due primarily to non- or weak-expression of the QTL, and in part to significant QTL × environment interaction effects in the opposite direction to QTL main effects, and to pronounced epistasis. QTL × environment interactions were trait- and gene-specific. The greater GEI for HD than for PH in rice were reflected by more environment-specific QTLs, greater frequency and magnitude of QTL × environment interaction effects, and more pronounced epistasis for HD than for PH. Our results demonstrated that QTL × environment interaction is an important property of many QTLs, even for highly heritable traits such as height and maturity. Information about QTL × environment interaction is essential if marker-assisted selection is to be applied to the manipulation of quantitative traits.

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Acknowledgements

We are very grateful for valuable comments and suggestions on the manuscript from Dr. Wenzel and two anonymous reviewers. We also thank B. Hardy for his help in editorial work of the MS. Financial support from a BMZ/GTZ grant of the German government and from the Rockefeller Foundation is greatly appreciated.

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Correspondence to Z. K. Li.

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Communicated by G. Wenzel

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Li, Z.K., Yu, S.B., Lafitte, H.R. et al. QTL × environment interactions in rice. I. Heading date and plant height. Theor Appl Genet 108, 141–153 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-003-1401-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-003-1401-2

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