Seed World

Rare Gene Enhances Grain Yield in Rice

An important gene called GS2, which could significantly boost the yield of super-rice is successfully separated and cloned from the local rice variety Baodali in Zhejiang province, China, according to a new study. The major findings were published in the latest issue of the well-known international journal Molecular Plant.
The introduction of this rare gene into rice cultivars could significantly enhance grain weight and increase grain yield, with possible applications in breeding high-yield rice varieties, the researchers say.
The study presents the cloning and characterization of a dominant quantitative trait loci (QTL), which encodes Growth-Regulating Factor 4 (OsGRF4), a transcriptional regulator. GS2 localizes to the nucleus and may act as a transcription activator. A rare mutation of GS2 affecting the binding site of a microRNA, OsmiR396c, causes elevated expression of GS2/OsGRF4. The increase in GS2 expression leads to larger cells and increased numbers of cells, which thus enhances grain weight and yield.
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