Reproductive barriers are commonly observed in both animals and plants, in which they maintain species integrity and contribute to speciation. This report shows that a combination of loss-offunction alleles at two duplicated loci, DUPLICATED GAMETOPHYTIC STERILITY 1 (DGS1) on chromosome 4 and DGS2 on chromosome 7, causes pollen sterility in hybrid progeny derived from an interspecific cross between cultivated rice, Oryza sativa, and an Asian annual wild rice, O. nivara. Male gametes carrying the DGS1 allele from O. nivara (DGS1-nivaras) and the DGS2 allele from O. sativa (DGS2-T65s) were sterile, but female gametes carrying the same genotype were fertile. We isolated the causal gene, which encodes a protein homologous to DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP) III subunit C4 (RPC4). RPC4 facilitates the transcription of 5S rRNAs and tRNAs. The loss-of-function alleles at DGS1-nivaras and DGS2-T65s were caused by weak or nonexpression of RPC4 and an absence of RPC4, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that gene duplication of RPC4 at DGS1 and DGS2 was a recent event that occurred after divergence of the ancestral population of Oryza from other Poaceae or during diversification of AA-genome species.
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