GRAIN SIZE 3 (GS3) is a cloned gene that is related to seed length. Here we report the discovery of new deletion alleles at the GS3 locus, each of which confer short seed. We selected ten short seeded cultivars from a collection of 282 diverse cultivars. Sequence analysis across the GS3 gene in these ten cultivars identified three novel alleles and a known allele that contain several independent deletion(s) in the fifth exon of GS These independent deletion variants each resulted in a frameshift mutation that caused a premature stop codon, and they were functionally similar to one another. Each coded for a truncated gene product that behaved as an incomplete dominant allele and conferred a short seeded phenotype. Haplotype analysis of these sequence variants indicated that two of the variants were of japonica origin, and two were from indica. Transformation experiments demonstrated that one of the deletion alleles of GS3 decrease the cell number in the upper epidermis of the glume, resulting in a significant reduction in seed length. The multiple and independent origins of these short seeded alleles indicate that farmers and early breeders imposed artificial selection favoring short seeds.
2013 by JAPANESE SOCIETY OF BREEDING