2011 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 168-173
We aimed to elucidate the molecular nature of the seed-shattering habit of weedy rice Oryza sativa L. in Okayama Prefecture, Japan, which seems to be an “off-type” of the main rice varieties in Okayama. We performed time-course analyses of breaking tensile strength (BTS) and analyzed the histological features of pedicels; we also genotyped the seed-shattering genes qSH1 and sh4 of weedy rice accessions and rice cultivars. The BTS of weedy accessions and cultivars began to decrease simultaneously at three weeks after heading. The weedy accessions showed complete loss of BTS and grain dispersal at five weeks after heading. In contrast, the cultivars maintained a certain degree of BTS and did not exhibit grain dispersal. Pedicel structures, which affect BTS, differed between the weedy accessions and the cultivars. The weedy accessions had complete and cracked abscission layers, while the cultivars had incomplete and uncracked abscission layers; however, the qSH1 and sh4 sequences that influence the formation of the abscission layer showed no differences between the weedy accessions and cultivars. We surmise that the shattering habit of weedy rice in Okayama is caused by formation and degeneration of the abscission layer, mediated by unidentified shattering-related gene(s).