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Uniformity in the height of main stem and tillers is a key factor affecting ideal plant type, a key component in super high-yielding rice breeding. An understanding of the genetic basis of the panicle layer uniformity may thus contribute to breeding varieties with good plant type and high yield. In the present study, a doubled haploid (DH) population, derived from a cross between indica rice variety Zhai-Ye-Qing 8 (ZYQ8) and japonica rice variety Jing-Xi 17 (JX17) was used to analyze quantitative trait loci (QTL) for panicle layer uniformity related traits. Six, four and three QTL were detected for the highest panicle height (HPH), lowest panicle height (LPH) and panicle layer dis-uniformity (PLD), respectively. qHPH-1-1 and qPLD-1 were located at the same interval on chromosome 1. The JX17 allele(s) of these QTL increased HPH and PLD by 2.57 and 1.26 cm, respectively. Similarly, qPLD-7 and qHPH-7 were located at the same interval on chromosome 7, where the ZYQ8 allele(s) increased HPH and PLD by 3.74 and 1.96 cm, respectively. These four QTL were unfavourable for panicle layer uniformity improvement because a decrease of the PLD was accompanied by decrease of the plant height. qPLD-6 and qLPH-6-1 were located at the same interval on chromosome 6, however here the JX17 allele(s) increased LPH, but decreased PLD, suggesting that this QTL was favourable for improvement of panicle layer uniformity. The markers identified in this study are potential for marker assisted breeding for the improvement of the panicle layer uniformity and ideal plant type.

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Rice straw represents a significant energy source for ruminant animals, and fibers and lignin contents of rice straw are negatively related to intake potential of forages. For improvement of the digestibility of rice straw, it is necessary to understand the genetic basis of the related traits. In present study, mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL) for acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent lignin (ADL) was carried out using a doubled haploid (DH) population derived from a cross between indica variety Zai-Ye-Qing 8 (ZYQ8) and japonica variety Jing-Xi 17 (JX17). The results indicated that all three parameters were continuously distributed among the DH lines, but many DH lines showed transgressive segregation for all the three traits. A total of three main-effect QTLs were identified for ADF and ADL, two of which, qADF-9 and qADL-9, shared the same region on chromosome 9. These two main-effect QTLs explained more than 20% of the total phenotypic variations, whereas the other QTL, qADF-5, explained 12.8% of the total phenotypic variation for ADF. In addition, another two epistatic QTLs, qADF-2 and qADF-3 could explain 17.6% of the total variations. Thus, we concluded that both main-effects and epistatic QTLs were important in controlling the genetic basis of ADF.

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