Send to

Choose Destination
Plant Physiol. 2011 Jan;155(1):157-68. doi: 10.1104/pp.110.165654. Epub 2010 Nov 9.

Genetic variation in biomass traits among 20 diverse rice varieties.

Author information

Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management and Program in Molecular Plant Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1177, USA.


Biofuels provide a promising route of producing energy while reducing reliance on petroleum. Developing sustainable liquid fuel production from cellulosic feedstock is a major challenge and will require significant breeding efforts to maximize plant biomass production. Our approach to elucidating genes and genetic pathways that can be targeted for improving biomass production is to exploit the combination of genomic tools and genetic diversity in rice (Oryza sativa). In this study, we analyzed a diverse set of 20 recently resequenced rice varieties for variation in biomass traits at several different developmental stages. The traits included plant size and architecture, aboveground biomass, and underlying physiological processes. We found significant genetic variation among the 20 lines in all morphological and physiological traits. Although heritability estimates were significant for all traits, heritabilities were higher in traits relating to plant size and architecture than for physiological traits. Trait variation was largely explained by variety and breeding history (advanced versus landrace) but not by varietal groupings (indica, japonica, and aus). In the context of cellulosic biofuels development, cell wall composition varied significantly among varieties. Surprisingly, photosynthetic rates among the varieties were inversely correlated with biomass accumulation. Examining these data in an evolutionary context reveals that rice varieties have achieved high biomass production via independent developmental and physiological pathways, suggesting that there are multiple targets for biomass improvement. Future efforts to identify loci and networks underlying this functional variation will facilitate the improvement of biomass traits in other grasses being developed as energy crops.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center