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Nature Publishing Group

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Nature Communications

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Cold stress is a major factor limiting production and geographic distribution of rice (Oryza sativa). Although the growth range of japonica subspecies has expanded northward compared to modern wild rice (O. rufipogon), the molecular basis of the adaptation remains unclear. Here we report bZIP73, a bZIP transcription factor-coding gene with only one functional polymorphism (+511 G>A) between the two subspecies japonica and indica, may have facilitated japonica adaptation to cold climates. We show the japonica version of bZIP73 (bZIP73Jap) interacts with bZIP71 and modulates ABA levels and ROS homeostasis. Evolutionary and population genetic analyses suggest bZIP73 has undergone balancing selection; the bZIP73Jap allele has firstly selected from standing variations in wild rice and likely facilitated cold climate adaptation during initial japonica domestication, while the indica allele bZIP73Ind was subsequently selected for reasons that remain unclear. Our findings reveal early selection of bZIP73Jap may have facilitated climate adaptation of primitive rice germplasms.


Published version. Nature Communications, Vol. 9, No. 3302 (August 17, 2018). DOI. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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