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Frontiers Media, S.A.

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Frontiers in Plant Science

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Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is often exposed to cool temperatures during spring planting in temperate climates. A better understanding of genetic pathways regulating chilling tolerance will enable breeders to develop varieties with improved tolerance during germination and young seedling stages. To dissect chilling tolerance, five assays were developed; one assay for the germination stage, one assay for the germination and seedling stage, and three for the seedling stage. Based on these assays, five chilling tolerance indices were calculated and assessed using 202 O. sativa accessions from the Rice Mini-Core (RMC) collection. Significant differences between RMC accessions made the five indices suitable for genome-wide association study (GWAS) based quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping. For young seedling stage indices, japonica and indica subspecies clustered into chilling tolerant and chilling sensitive accessions, respectively, while both subspecies had similar low temperature germinability distributions. Indica subspecies were shown to have chilling acclimation potential. GWAS mapping uncovered 48 QTL at 39 chromosome regions distributed across all 12 rice chromosomes. Interestingly, there was no overlap between the germination and seedling stage QTL. Also, 18 QTL and 32 QTL were in regions discovered in previously reported bi-parental and GWAS based QTL mapping studies, respectively. Two novel low temperature seedling survivability (LTSS)–QTL, qLTSS3-4 and qLTSS4-1, were not in a previously reported QTL region. QTL with strong effect alleles identified in this study will be useful for marker assisted breeding efforts to improve chilling tolerance in rice cultivars and enhance gene discovery for chilling tolerance.


Published version. Frontiers in Plant Science, Vol. 8, Article 957 (June 2017). DOI. © 2007 - 2018 Frontiers Media S.A. Used with permission.

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