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New Phytol. 2017 Jul;215(2):658-671. doi: 10.1111/nph.14614. Epub 2017 May 30.

The buffering capacity of stems: genetic architecture of nonstructural carbohydrates in cultivated Asian rice, Oryza sativa.

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Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics, School of Integrated Plant Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853-1901, USA.
Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility, National Renewable Energy Lab, Golden, CO, 80401, USA.


Harnessing stem carbohydrate dynamics in grasses offers an opportunity to help meet future demands for plant-based food, fiber and fuel production, but requires a greater understanding of the genetic controls that govern the synthesis, interconversion and transport of such energy reserves. We map out a blueprint of the genetic architecture of rice (Oryza sativa) stem nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) at two critical developmental time-points using a subpopulation-specific genome-wide association approach on two diverse germplasm panels followed by quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping in a biparental population. Overall, 26 QTL are identified; three are detected in multiple panels and are associated with starch-at-maturity, sucrose-at-maturity and NSC-at-heading. They tag OsHXK6 (rice hexokinase), ISA2 (rice isoamylase) and a tandem array of sugar transporters. This study provides the foundation for more in-depth molecular investigation to validate candidate genes underlying rice stem NSC and informs future comparative studies in other agronomically vital grass species.


Oryza sativa; carbon allocation; climate; genome-wide association; near-infrared spectroscopy; nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC); plasticity

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