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Control of a key transition from prostrate to erect growth in rice domestication


The transition from the prostrate growth of ancestral wild rice (O. rufipogon Griff.) to the erect growth of Oryza sativa cultivars was one of the most critical events in rice domestication. This evolutionary step importantly improved plant architecture and increased grain yield. Here we find that prostrate growth of wild rice from Yuanjiang County in China is controlled by a semi-dominant gene, PROG1 (PROSTRATE GROWTH 1), on chromosome 7 that encodes a single Cys2-His2 zinc-finger protein. prog1 variants identified in O. sativa disrupt the prog1 function and inactivate prog1 expression, leading to erect growth, greater grain number and higher grain yield in cultivated rice. Sequence comparison shows that 182 varieties of cultivated rice, including 87 indica and 95 japonica cultivars from 17 countries, carry identical mutations in the prog1 coding region that may have become fixed during rice domestication.

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Figure 1: The transition from prostrate growth to erect growth.
Figure 2: Phenotype of YIL18 and Teqing.
Figure 3: Molecular identification of PROG1.
Figure 4: Expression of PROG1 and prog1.

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We thank N. Harberd for comments on the manuscript, Y. Wang for assisting in cross sections, and the International Rice Research Institute, Chinese Rice Research Institute, Institute of Crop Sciences of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences for providing the wild rice and cultivated rice samples. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.

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Authors and Affiliations



L.T. conducted characterization of introgression line, genetic mapping, gene cloning and gene expression analysis; X.L. constructed the genomic BAC library of YJCWR and screened the positive clone; F.L. helped L.T. with genetic mapping and gene expression analysis; X.S. maintained plant materials and performed the field management; C.L. performed the genetic transformation; Z.Z., Y.F., H.C. and X.W. conducted the collection of rice garmplasm and phenotypic data; C.S and D.X. designed and supervised this study; C.S., D.X. and L.T. analyzed the data and wrote the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Daoxin Xie or Chuanqing Sun.

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Tan, L., Li, X., Liu, F. et al. Control of a key transition from prostrate to erect growth in rice domestication. Nat Genet 40, 1360–1364 (2008).

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