Biotech Updates

Gene Mechanism Affecting Rice Chill Tolerance Discovered

January 11, 2023

For the first time, scientists document a domestication-selected DNA damage repair mechanism along with its corresponding elite modules involving chilling stress in rice. The findings are potentially valuable for molecular breeding research to develop chill-tolerant traits for crops.

Using an approach that combined population genetics, genomics, and cell and evolutionary biology, experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted a data-merging genome-wide association studies based on multidimensional scaling. They identified a series of loci, one of which was the qCTS11-1 on chromosome 11, that exhibited a clear contribution to rice chilling tolerance. Further mapping led to its major gene, COLD11. It was found that COLD11 encodes a DNA repair protein that is vital in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Mutation of COLD11 may result in reduced chilling tolerance, according to scientists.

It was concluded that COLD11 is a major quantitative trait loci gene for chilling tolerance. Further investigations on the gene can help develop R&D designs to improve chilling tolerance in rice.

More information can be found in Science Advances, the press release from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and EurekAlert!

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