Characterisation of a novel quantitative trait locus, GN4-1, for grain number and yield in rice (Oryza sativa L.)
A novel QTL for grain number, GN4-1, was identified and fine-mapped to an ~ 190-kb region on the long arm of rice chromosome 4.
Rice grain yield is primarily determined by three components: number of panicles per plant, grain number per panicle and grain weight. Among these traits, grain number per panicle is the major contributor to grain yield formation and is a crucial trait for yield improvement. In this study, we identified a major quantitative trait locus (QTL) responsible for rice grain number on chromosome 4, designated GN4-1 (a QTL for Grain Number on chromosome 4), using advanced segregating populations derived from the crosses between an elite indica cultivar ‘Zhonghui 8006’ (ZH8006) and a japonica rice ‘Wuyunjing 8’ (WYJ8). GN4-1 was delimited to an ~ 190-kb region on chromosome 4. The genetic effect of GN4-1 was estimated using a pair of near-isogenic lines. The GN4-1 gene from WYJ8 promoted accumulation of cytokinins in the inflorescence and increased grain number per panicle by ~ 17%. More importantly, introduction of the WYJ8 GN4-1 gene into ZH8006 increased grain yield by ~ 14.3 and ~ 11.5% in the experimental plots in 2014 and 2015, respectively. In addition, GN4-1 promoted thickening of the culm and may enhance resistance to lodging. These results demonstrate that GN4-1 is a potentially valuable gene for improvement of yield and lodging resistance in rice breeding.
This study was financially supported by grants from the National Key Research and Development Programme (2016YFD0100400), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31100863), the Key Research and Development Programme of Jiangsu Province (BE2015341), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20150010), the Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China (13KJA210003), the Prospective Agricultural Project of Yangzhou City (YZ2014165), the Top Talent Support Programme of Yangzhou University and the Priority Academic Programme Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
We declare that these experiments comply with the ethical standards in China, where they were performed.
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