New Gene Found That Affects Rice's Starch Content and Cooking Quality

Greg Howard
9th June, 2024

New Gene Found That Affects Rice's Starch Content and Cooking Quality

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study examined 450 rice accessions (300 indica and 150 japonica) across two environments to understand cooking quality traits
  • Researchers identified 54 QTLs related to cooking quality: 25 for amylose content (AC), 12 for gel consistency (GC), and 17 for alkali spreading value (ASV)
  • The Wx gene was consistently linked to AC and GC, while the ALK gene was associated with ASV, confirming their significant roles in cooking quality
Rice is a staple food for billions of people worldwide, and its market value is significantly influenced by its cooking quality. A recent study conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture aimed to shed light on the genetic factors that determine cooking quality in rice, focusing on traits such as amylose content (AC), gel consistency (GC), and alkali spreading value (ASV)[1]. This research is crucial because, despite identifying several major genes and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with cooking quality, the genetic complexity and environmental susceptibility have hindered significant improvements through molecular breeding. The study utilized a genome-wide association approach, examining 450 rice accessions—300 indica and 150 japonica—across two distinct environments. This comprehensive analysis led to the identification of 54 QTLs related to cooking quality: 25 QTLs for AC, 12 QTLs for GC, and 17 QTLs for ASV. Importantly, 10 of these QTLs were consistently observed in both environments, underscoring their potential stability and utility in breeding programs. These findings build on previous research that has explored various aspects of rice quality. For instance, grain chalkiness, a key factor in market value, has also been subjected to genome-wide association studies, leading to the identification of several QTLs that influence this trait[2]. Similarly, the complexity of rice grain quality, encompassing milling quality, appearance quality, and nutritional quality, has been well-documented, with numerous genes identified that regulate these traits[3]. In the current study, the Wx gene was consistently identified across all populations and environments, reinforcing its well-known role in determining AC and GC. Another significant gene, ALK, was linked to ASV. The researchers also pinpointed the OsRING315 gene as a candidate for both qAC9-2 and qGC9-2 QTLs. This gene encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase, and its higher expression levels were associated with lower AC and higher GC. Three haplotypes of OsRING315 were identified: Hap 1, which is prevalent in japonica rice and associated with lower AC, and Hap 2 and Hap 3, found mainly in indica rice and linked to higher AC. Additionally, the GC of accessions with Hap 1 was higher compared to those with Hap 3. The study's findings highlight the genetic complexity underlying cooking quality traits, which are influenced by both major and minor genes and are susceptible to environmental factors. The identification of OsRING315 as a key gene affecting both AC and GC presents a promising target for quality improvement through gene editing techniques. Moreover, the distinct distribution of OsRING315 haplotypes between indica and japonica rice offers valuable insights into the genetic basis of cooking quality differences between these two subspecies. By integrating these new insights with previous research on rice grain quality, the study provides a more comprehensive understanding of the genetic factors that influence cooking quality. This knowledge is vital for developing high-quality rice varieties that meet market demands and consumer preferences. The consistent identification of key genes across different environments and populations underscores their potential utility in breeding programs aimed at improving rice cooking quality.

GeneticsBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) GWAS and Transcriptomic Analysis Identify OsRING315 as a New Candidate Gene Controlling Amylose Content and Gel Consistency in Rice

Published 8th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Genome-wide association mapping and gene expression analysis reveal candidate genes for grain chalkiness in rice.

3) Genes and Their Molecular Functions Determining Seed Structure, Components, and Quality of Rice.

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