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A method for mechanized hybrid rice seed production using female sterile rice

Xia, Yumei, Tang, Ning, Hu, Yuanyi, Li, Ding, Li, Shuangcheng, Bu, Xiaolan, Yu, Mulan, Qi, Shaowu, Yang, Yishan, Zhu, Hongjin, Cao, Chenying, Li, Ping, Yuan, Longping, Cao, Mengliang
Rice 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 39
Oryza sativa, crop production, die-off, female fertility, females, fluorescence, fructification, gene expression, genetic engineering, heterozygosity, hybrids, labor, mechanization, pollen, rice, seeds, selfing, transgenes, transgenic plants, China
BACKGROUND: The breeding and large-scale adoption of hybrid rice is an important achievement in modern agriculture. Mechanized seed production is urgently needed for widespread adoption of hybrid rice because it can compensate for the shortage of manual labor to meet the growing food demands in China. RESULTS: Here, we report the development of a mechanized hybrid rice seed production method using a female sterile rice. In this method, three closely linked gene expression cassettes were introduced into female sterile rice. The three expression cassettes are: 1) a rice female fertility gene expression cassette; 2) a pollen-lethal gene expression cassette; and 3) a red fluorescence protein gene expression cassette. During the self-fertilization process of a heterozygous transgenic rice plant, pollen grains carrying the transgene die off and cannot participate in fertilization; pollen grains not carrying a transgene can normally fertilize the female gamete, leading to fructification. By means of fluorescence-assisted sorting, homogeneous female sterile rice seeds are sorted out from other seeds carrying the transgene and are used for mechanized hybrid rice seed production; heterozygous seeds carrying the transgene can then be used in the multiplication of female sterile rice. CONCLUSIONS: This technology solves the difficulty of multiplying female-sterile rice, allows for mechanized production of hybrid rice seed, and will prove especially valuable in systems using a mixed-planting, mixed-harvesting approach. Moreover, it uses transgenic technology that has not yet been employed in a seed production process in which the output is non-transgenic seeds.