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Theor Appl Genet. 2013 Apr;126(4):1011-24. doi: 10.1007/s00122-012-2033-1. Epub 2013 Feb 12.

Three genetic systems controlling growth, development and productivity of rice (Oryza sativa L.): a reevaluation of the 'Green Revolution'.

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Institute of Crop Sciences/National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China.


The Green Revolution (GR-I) included worldwide adoption of semi-dwarf rice cultivars (SRCs) with mutant alleles at GA20ox2 or SD1 encoding gibberellin 20-oxidase. Two series of experiments were conducted to characterize the pleiotropic effects of SD1 and its relationships with large numbers of QTLs affecting rice growth, development and productivity. The pleiotropic effects of SD1 in the IR64 genetic background for increased height, root length/mass and grain weight, and for reduced spikelet fertility and delayed heading were first demonstrated using large populations derived from near isogenic IR64 lines of SD1. In the second set of experiments, QTLs controlling nine growth and yield traits were characterized using a new molecular quantitative genetics model and the phenotypic data of the well-known IR64/Azucena DH population evaluated across 11 environments, which revealed three genetic systems: the SD1-mediated, SD1-repressed and SD1-independent pathways that control rice growth, development and productivity. The SD1-mediated system comprised 43 functional genetic units (FGUs) controlled by GA. The SD1-repressed system was the alternative one comprising 38 FGUs that were only expressed in the mutant sd1 backgrounds. The SD1-independent one comprised 64 FGUs that were independent of SD1. GR-I resulted from the overall differences between the former two systems in the three aspects: (1) trait/environment-specific contributions; (2) distribution of favorable alleles for increased productivity in the parents; and (3) different responses to (fertilizer) inputs. Our results suggest that at 71.4 % of the detected loci, a QTL resulted from the difference between a functional allele and a loss-of-function mutant, whereas at the remaining 28.6 % of loci, from two functional alleles with differentiated effects. Our results suggest two general strategies to achieve GR-II (1) by further exploiting the genetic potential of the SD1-repressed and SD1-independent pathways and (2) by restoring the SD1-mediated pathways, or 'back to the nature' to fully exploit the genetic diversity of those loci in the SD1-mediated pathways which are virtually inaccessible to most rice-breeding programs worldwide that are exclusively based on sd1.

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