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Genetics. 1998 Oct;150(2):899-909.

Identification of trait-improving quantitative trait loci alleles from a wild rice relative, Oryza rufipogon.

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Department of Plant Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Wild species are valued as a unique source of genetic variation, but they have rarely been used for the genetic improvement of quantitative traits. To identify trait-improving quantitative trait loci (QTL) alleles from exotic species, an accession of Oryza rufipogon, a relative of cultivated rice, was chosen on the basis of a genetic diversity study. An interspecific BC2 testcross population (V20A/O. rufipogon//V20B///V20B////Ce64) consisting of 300 families was evaluated for 12 agronomically important quantitative traits. The O. rufipogon accession was phenotypically inferior for all 12 traits. However, transgressive segregants that outperformed the original elite hybrid variety, V20A/Ce64, were observed for all traits examined. A set of 122 RFLP and microsatellite markers was used to identify QTL. A total of 68 significant QTL were identified, and of these, 35 (51%) had beneficial alleles derived from the phenotypically inferior O. rufipogon parent. Nineteen (54%) of these beneficial QTL alleles were free of deleterious effects on other characters. O. rufipogon alleles at two QTL on chromosomes 1 and 2 were associated with an 18 and 17% increase in grain yield per plant, respectively, without delaying maturity or increasing plant height. This discovery suggests that the innovative use of molecular maps and markers can alter the way geneticists utilize wild and exotic germplasm.

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