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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Mar 4;100(5):2574-9. Epub 2003 Feb 25.

Single-locus heterotic effects and dominance by dominance interactions can adequately explain the genetic basis of heterosis in an elite rice hybrid.

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National Key Laboratory of Crop Improvement and National Center of Crop Molecular Breeding, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.


The genetic basis of heterosis of an elite rice hybrid was investigated by using an "immortalized F(2)" population produced by randomly permutated intermating of 240 recombinant inbred lines from a cross between the parents of Shanyou 63, the most widely cultivated hybrid in China. Measurements of heterosis for crosses in the immortalized F(2) population were obtained from replicated field trials over 2 years by inter-planting the hybrids with the parental recombinant inbred lines. The analyses were conducted making use of a linkage map comprising 231 segregating molecular marker loci covering the entire rice genome. Heterotic effects were detected at 33 loci for the four traits with modified composite interval mapping. The heterotic loci showed little overlap with quantitative trait loci for trait performance, suggesting that heterosis and trait performance may be conditioned by different sets of loci. Large numbers of digenic interactions were resolved by using two-way ANOVA and confirmed by randomization tests. All kinds of genetic effects, including partial-, full-, and overdominance at single-locus level and all three forms of digenic interactions (additive by additive, additive by dominance, and dominance by dominance), contributed to heterosis in the immortalized F(2) population, indicating that these genetic components were not mutually exclusive in the genetic basis of heterosis. Heterotic effects at the single-locus level, in combination with the marginal advantages of double heterozygotes caused by dominance by dominance interaction at the two-locus level could adequately explain the genetic basis of heterosis in Shanyou 63. These results may help reconcile the century-long debate concerning the genetic basis of heterosis.

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