It is known that the common cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) was domesticated from Asian wild rice, O. rufipogon. Among the morphological differences between them, loss of seed shattering is one of the striking characters specific for the cultivated forms. In order to understand the genetic control on shattering habit, QTL analysis was carried out using BC2F1 backcross population between O. sativa cv. Nipponbare (a recurrent parent) and O. rufipogon acc. W630 (a donor parent). As a result, two strong QTLs were detected on chromosomes 1 and 4, and they were found to be identical to the two major seed-shattering loci, qSH1 and sh4, respectively. The allelic interaction at these loci was further examined using two sets of backcross populations having reciprocal genetic backgrounds, cultivated and wild. In the genetic background of cultivated rice, the wild qSH1 allele has stronger effect on seed shattering than that of sh4. In addition, the wild alleles at both qSH1 and sh4 loci showed semi-dominant effects. On the other hand, in the genetic background of wild rice, non-shattering effects of Nipponbare alleles at both loci were examined to inspect rice domestication from a viewpoint of seed shattering. It was serendipitous that the backcross plants individually having Nipponbare homozygous alleles at either shattering locus (qSH1 or sh4) shed all the seeds. This fact strongly indicates that the non-shattering behavior was not obtained by a single mutation in the genetic background of wild rice. Probably, some other minor genes are still associated with the formation or activation of abscission layer, which enhance the seed shattering.
2010 by The Genetics Society of Japan