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Genome-wide association study of cold tolerance of Chinese indica rice varieties at the bud burst stage

Zhang, Mengchen, Ye, Jing, Xu, Qun, Feng, Yue, Yuan, Xiaoping, Yu, Hanyong, Wang, Yiping, Wei, Xinghua, Yang, Yaolong
Plant cell reports 2018 v.37 no.3 pp. 529-539
abiotic stress, breeding, chromosome mapping, cold tolerance, gene expression regulation, genes, genome-wide association study, linear models, loci, phenotypic variation, population structure, quantitative trait loci, rice, seeds, sequence analysis, single nucleotide polymorphism, survival rate, temperature, China
KEY MESSAGE: A region containing three genes on chromosome 1 of indica rice was associated with cold tolerance at the bud burst stage; these results may be useful for breeding cold-tolerant lines. Low temperature at the bud burst stage is one of the major abiotic stresses limiting rice growth, especially in regions where rice seeds are sown directly. In this study, we investigated cold tolerance of rice at the bud burst stage and conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) based on the 5K rice array of 249 indica rice varieties widely distributed in China. We improved the method to assess cold tolerance at the bud burst stage in indica rice, and used severity of damage (SD) and seed survival rate (SR) as the cold-tolerant indices. Population structure analysis demonstrated that the Chinese indica panel was divided into three subgroups. In total, 47 significant single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci associated with SD and SR, were detected by association mapping based on mixed linear model. Because some loci overlapped between SD and SR, the loci contained 13 genome intervals and most of them have been reported previously. A major QTL for cold tolerance on chromosome 1 at the position of 31.6 Mb, explaining 13.2% of phenotypic variation, was selected for further analysis. Through LD decay, GO enrichment, RNA-seq data, and gene expression pattern analyses, we identified three genes (LOC_Os01g55510, LOC_Os01g55350 and LOC_Os01g55560) that were differentially expressed between cold-tolerant and cold-sensitive varieties, suggesting they may be candidate genes for cold tolerance. Together, our results provide a new method to assess cold tolerance in indica rice, and establish the foundation for isolating genes related to cold tolerance that could be used in rice breeding.