Root system development is an important target for improving yield in cereal crops. Active root systems that can take up nutrients more efficiently are essential for enhancing grain yield. In this study, we attempted to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) involved in root system development by measuring root length of rice seedlings grown in hydroponic culture. Reliable growth conditions for estimating the root length were first established to renew nutrient solutions daily and supply NH4+ as a single nitrogen source. Thirty-eight chromosome segment substitution lines derived from a cross between 'Koshihikari', a japonica variety, and 'Kasalath', an indica variety, were used to detect QTL for seminal root length of seedlings grown in 5 or 500 μM NH4+. Eight chromosomal regions were found to be involved in root elongation. Among them, the most effective QTL was detected on a 'Kasalath' segment of SL-218, which was localized to the long-arm of chromosome 6. The 'Kasalath' allele at this QTL, qRL6. 1, greatly promoted root elongation under all NH4+ concentrations tested. The genetic effect of this QTL was confirmed by analysis of the near-isogenic line (NIL) qRL6. 1. The seminal root length of the NIL was 13.5-21.1% longer than that of 'Koshihikari' under different NH4+ concentrations. Toward our goal of applying qRL6. 1 in a molecular breeding program to enhance rice yield, a candidate genomic region of qRL6. 1 was delimited within a 337 kb region in the 'Nipponbare' genome by means of progeny testing of F2 plants/F3 lines derived from a cross between SL-218 and 'Koshihikari'.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science