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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2007 Dec;17(6):533-8. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

Genetics and phylogenetics of rice domestication.

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Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


With genetically divergent cultivars and ecologically distinct wild progenitors, rice has posed a great challenge to the genetic and phylogenetic studies of the origin and evolution of crop species. A growing body of phylogenetic evidence suggested that the diverged genomic backgrounds of indica and japonica rice cultivars were derived independently from genetically distinct wild populations. However, a domestication gene, sh4, which was responsible for the reduction of grain shattering, seems to have originated only once, and it is now fixed in both cultivars. Two models have been proposed to reconcile these data. Whereas the 'combination model' emphasizes the importance of early introgression between independently domesticated cultivars, the 'snowballing model' emphasizes the importance of introgression from local populations of wild species into an ancestral domesticated population. In either case, the domestication of rice was a dynamic process.

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