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Xia H.,Shanghai Agrobiological Guuuene Center | Zheng X.,Shanghai Agrobiological Guuuene Center | Chen L.,Shanghai Agrobiological Guuuene Center | Gao H.,Shanghai Agrobiological Guuuene Center | And 6 more authors.

Upland and lowland rice (Oryza sativa L.) represent two of the most important rice ecotypes adapted to ago-ecosystems with contrasting soil-water conditions. Upland rice, domesticated in the water-limited environment, contains valuable drought-resistant characters that can be used in water-saving breeding. Knowledge about the divergence between upland and lowland rice will provide valuable cues for the evolution of drought-resistance in rice. Genetic differentiation between upland and lowland rice was explored by 47 Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs) located in drought responding expressed sequence tags (ESTs) among 377 rice landraces. The morphological traits of drought-resistance were evaluated in the field experiments. Different outlier loci were detected in the japonica and indica subspecies, respectively. Considerable genetic differentiation between upland and lowland rice on these outlier loci was estimated in japonica (Fst = 0.258) and indica (Fsf = 0.127). Furthermore, populations of the upland and lowland ecotypes were clustered separately on these outlier loci. A significant correlation between genetic distance matrices and the dissimilarity matrices of drought-resistant traits was determined, indicating a certain relationship between the upland-lowland rice differentiation and the drought-resistance. Divergent selections occur between upland and lowland rice on the drought-resistance as the Qsts of some droughtresistant traits are significantly higher than the neutral Fst. In addition, the upland- and lowland-preferable alleles responded differently among ecotypes or allelic types under osmotic stress. This shows the evolutionary signature of drought resistance at the gene expression level. The findings of this study can strengthen our understanding of the evolution of drought-resistance in rice with significant implications in the improvement of rice drought-resistance. © 2014 Xia et al. Source

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