Rice is a facultative short-day plant, and molecular genetic studies have identified the major genes involved in short-day flowering. However, the molecular mechanisms promoting the diversity of flowering time in cultivated rice are not known. We used a core collection of 64 rice cultivars that represent the genetic diversity of 332 accessions from around the world and studied the expression levels and polymorphisms of 6 genes in the short-day flowering pathway. The RNA levels of Heading date 3a (Hd3a), encoding a floral activator, are highly correlated with flowering time, and there is a high degree of polymorphism in the Heading date 1 (Hd1) protein, which is a major regulator of Hd3a expression. Functional and nonfunctional alleles of Hd1 are associated with early and late flowering, respectively, suggesting that Hd1 is a major determi- nantof variation in flowering time of cultivated rice. We also found that the type of Hd3a promoter and the level of Ehd1 expression contribute to the diversity in flowering time and Hd3a expression level. We evaluated the contributions of these 3 factors by a statistical analysis using a simple linear model, and the results supported our experimental observations.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 17 2009|
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