Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genes render some rice species sterile: System of three genes prevents hybrid rice from reproducing, new study shows

Date:
September 13, 2012
Source:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Summary:
Researchers have identified a set of three genes that are responsible for hybrid sterility in rice, or the inability of many hybrid rice species to pass their genes on to the next generation. These findings inform a model that suggests how such hybrid sterility is maintained across rice species, and they may lead to the genetic improvement of rice as a food stock.

This image shows heterosis and sterility of hybrid between indica and japonica subspecies.
Credit: Qifa Zhang

Researchers have identified a set of three genes that are responsible for hybrid sterility in rice, or the inability of many hybrid rice species to pass their genes on to the next generation. These findings inform a model that suggests how such hybrid sterility is maintained across rice species, and they may lead to the genetic improvement of rice as a food stock.

The research is published in the Sept. 14 issue of the journal Science, which is published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

When two different species mate, like a horse and a donkey, their hybrid offspring -- a mule in this example -- is born reproductively sterile. But, this phenomenon, known as hybrid sterility, isn't limited to the animal kingdom: Plenty of plants produce viable hybrids that are genetic dead-ends as well.

Now, Jiangyi Yang and colleagues from Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China, along with other researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, have investigated the hybrid sterility that results between the indica and japonica subspecies of the cultivated rice, Oryza sativa.

The researchers honed in on a specific region of the rice chromosome, S5, which they had previously associated with hybrid sterility. They found three tightly linked genes -- ORF3, ORF4, and ORF5 -- that control fertility in indica-japonica rice hybrids. The ORF5 gene functions as a killer and ORF4 partners with it while ORF3 works against them, taking on the role of a protector, they say.

Apparently, among indica and japonica subspecies of cultivated rice, the killer gene and its partner work together to kill female gametes, or eggs, while the protector gene actively tries to save them. Specifically, the researchers suggest that ORF5 produces a molecule that is sensed by ORF4 and leads to an uptick in stress on a cell's endoplasmic reticulum. That stress eventually activates ORF3, which works to stabilize and protect the endoplasmic reticulum, they say.

This kind of killer-protector system underlies the hybrid sterility between these two species of cultivated rice, according to the study. Yang and the other researchers suggest that non-lethal combinations of ORF4 and ORF5 may allow indica-japonica hybrids to pass their genes on to subsequent generations -- and that overcoming this hybrid sterility in rice could lead to more desirable crops in the future.

The report by Yang et al. was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation, the 863 Project, and the 111 Project of China. D.S. Brar of the International Rice Research Institute provided the rice seeds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jiangyi Yang, Xiaobo Zhao, Ke Cheng, Hongyi Du, Yidan Ouyang, Jiongjiong Chen, Shuqing Qiu, Jianyan Huang, Yunhe Jiang, Liwen Jiang, Jihua Ding, Jia Wang, Caiguo Xu, Xianghua Li, and Qifa Zhang. A Killer-Protector System Regulates Both Hybrid Sterility and Segregation Distortion in Rice. Science, 2012; 337 (6100): 1336-1340 DOI: 10.1126/science.1223702

Cite This Page:

American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Genes render some rice species sterile: System of three genes prevents hybrid rice from reproducing, new study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913141407.htm>.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2012, September 13). Genes render some rice species sterile: System of three genes prevents hybrid rice from reproducing, new study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913141407.htm
American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Genes render some rice species sterile: System of three genes prevents hybrid rice from reproducing, new study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913141407.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins