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Genetics. Aug 2001; 158(4): 1755–1771.
PMCID: PMC1461757

Overdominant epistatic loci are the primary genetic basis of inbreeding depression and heterosis in rice. II. Grain yield components.

Abstract

The genetic basis underlying inbreeding depression and heterosis for three grain yield components of rice was investigated in five interrelated mapping populations using a complete RFLP linkage map, replicated phenotyping, and the mixed model approach. The populations included 254 F(10) recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between Lemont (japonica) and Teqing (indica), two backcross (BC) and two testcross populations derived from crosses between the RILs and the parents plus two testers (Zhong413 and IR64). For the yield components, the RILs showed significant inbreeding depression and hybrid breakdown, and the BC and testcross populations showed high levels of heterosis. The average performance of the BC or testcross hybrids was largely determined by heterosis. The inbreeding depression values of individual RILs were negatively associated with the heterosis measurements of the BC or testcross hybrids. We identified many epistatic QTL pairs and a few main-effect QTL responsible for >65% of the phenotypic variation of the yield components in each of the populations. Most epistasis occurred between complementary loci, suggesting that grain yield components were associated more with multilocus genotypes than with specific alleles at individual loci. Overdominance was also an important property of most loci associated with heterosis, particularly for panicles per plant and grains per panicle. Two independent groups of genes appeared to affect grain weight: one showing primarily nonadditive gene action explained 62.1% of the heterotic variation of the trait, and the other exhibiting only additive gene action accounted for 28.1% of the total trait variation of the F(1) mean values. We found no evidence suggesting that pseudo-overdominance from the repulsive linkage of completely or partially dominant QTL for yield components resulted in the overdominant QTL for grain yield. Pronounced overdominance resulting from epistasis expressed by multilocus genotypes appeared to explain the long-standing dilemma of how inbreeding depression could arise from overdominant genes.

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Selected References

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