2017 Volume 92 Issue 1 Pages 21-26
Seed awning is one of the important traits for successful propagation in wild rice. During the domestication of rice by ancient humans, plants with awnless seeds may have been selected because long awns hindered collection and handling activities. To investigate domestication of awnless rice, QTL analysis for seed awning was first carried out using backcross recombinant inbred lines between Oryza sativa Nipponbare (recurrent parent) and O. rufipogon W630 (donor parent). Two strong QTLs were detected in the same regions as known major seed-awning loci, An-1 and RAE2. Subsequent causal mutation surveying and fine mapping confirmed that O. rufipogon W630 has functional alleles at both loci. The gene effects and interactions at these loci were examined using two backcross populations with reciprocal genetic backgrounds of O. sativa Nipponbare and O. rufipogon W630. As awn length in wild rice varied among seeds even in the same plant, awn length was measured based on spikelet position. In the genetic background of cultivated rice, the wild alleles at An-1 and RAE2 had awning effects, and plants having both wild homozygous alleles produced awns whose length was about 70% of those of the wild parent. On the other hand, in the genetic background of wild rice, the substitution of cultivated alleles at An-1 and RAE2 contributed little to awn length reduction. These results indicate that the domestication process of awnless seeds was complicated because many genes are involved in awn formation in wild rice.