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Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR Confirms Candidate Gene for Flag Leaf Size in Rice

June 13, 2018

Leaf size is a major determinant of plant architecture and yield potential in crops. However, the mechanisms regulating leaf size remain unknown. The team of Xinxin Tang from the National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement in China studied quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for flag leaf length and flag leaf width in rice.

Fourteen QTLs for flag leaf length and nine QTLs for flag leaf width were identified. Among them was a major QTL for both flag leaf width and length, Ghd7.1. The team confirmed this via mutants of Ghd7.1 generated using CRISPR-Cas9 which exhibited reduced leaf size. Further analyses also validated Ghd7.1 as a functional candidate gene for leaf size, photosynthetic capacity and other yield-related traits.

These results provide useful genetic information for the improvement of leaf size and yield in rice breeding programs.

For more information, read the article in Theoretical and Applied Genetics.