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Plant Genome. 2018 Nov;11(3). doi: 10.3835/plantgenome2017.08.0076.

Genome-Wide Association Study Using Historical Breeding Populations Discovers Genomic Regions Involved in High-Quality Rice.


Rice ( L.) is one of the most important staple food crops in the world; however, there has recently been a shift in consumer demand for higher grain quality. Therefore, understanding the genetic architecture of grain quality has become a key objective of rice breeding programs. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using large diversity panels have successfully identified genomic regions associated with complex traits in diverse crop species. Our main objective was to identify genomic regions associated with grain quality and to identify and characterize favorable haplotypes for selection. We used two locally adapted rice breeding populations and historical phenotypic data for three rice quality traits: yield after milling, percentage of head rice recovery, and percentage of chalky grain. We detected 22 putative quantitative trait loci (QTL) in the same genomic regions as starch synthesis, starch metabolism, and cell wall synthesis-related genes are found. Additionally, we found a genomic region on chromosome 6 in the population that was associated with all quality traits and we identified favorable haplotypes. Furthermore, this region is linked to the gene that codes for a starch branching enzyme I, which is implicated in starch granule formation. In , we also found two putative QTL linked to , , and . Our study provides an insight into the genetic basis of rice grain chalkiness, yield after milling, and head rice, identifying favorable haplotypes and molecular markers for selection in breeding programs.

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