Letter abstract

Nature Genetics 40, 1370 - 1374 (2008)
Published online: 28 September 2008 | doi:10.1038/ng.220

Control of rice grain-filling and yield by a gene with a potential signature of domestication

Ertao Wang1,2, Jianjun Wang3, Xudong Zhu2, Wei Hao1, Linyou Wang3, Qun Li1, Lixia Zhang3, Wei He1, Baorong Lu4, Hongxuan Lin1, Hong Ma5, Guiquan Zhang6 & Zuhua He1


Grain-filling, an important trait that contributes greatly to grain weight, is regulated by quantitative trait loci and is associated with crop domestication syndrome1, 2, 3, 4. However, the genes and underlying molecular mechanisms controlling crop grain-filling remain elusive. Here we report the isolation and functional analysis of the rice GIF1 (GRAIN INCOMPLETE FILLING 1) gene that encodes a cell-wall invertase required for carbon partitioning during early grain-filling. The cultivated GIF1 gene shows a restricted expression pattern during grain-filling compared to the wild rice allele, probably a result of accumulated mutations in the gene's regulatory sequence through domestication. Fine mapping with introgression lines revealed that the wild rice GIF1 is responsible for grain weight reduction. Ectopic expression of the cultivated GIF1 gene with the 35S or rice Waxy promoter resulted in smaller grains, whereas overexpression of GIF1 driven by its native promoter increased grain production. These findings, together with the domestication signature that we identified by comparing nucleotide diversity of the GIF1 loci between cultivated and wild rice, strongly suggest that GIF1 is a potential domestication gene and that such a domestication-selected gene can be used for further crop improvement.

  1. Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 300 Fenglin Road, Shanghai 200032, China.
  2. China National Rice Research Institute, 359 TiyuChang Road, Hangzhou 31006, China.
  3. Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 198 Shiqiao Road, Hangzhou 310021, China.
  4. School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, 220 Handan Road, Shanghai 200433, China.
  5. Department of Biology and the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.
  6. College of Agriculture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China.

Correspondence to: Zuhua He1 e-mail: zhhe@sibs.ac.cn


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