Rice Domestication by Reducing Shattering

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Science  31 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5769, pp. 1936-1939
DOI: 10.1126/science.1123604

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Crop domestication frequently began with the selection of plants that did not naturally shed ripe fruits or seeds. The reduction in grain shattering that led to cereal domestication involved genetic loci of large effect. The molecular basis of this key domestication transition, however, remains unknown. Here we show that human selection of an amino acid substitution in the predicted DNA binding domain encoded by a gene of previously unknown function was primarily responsible for the reduction of grain shattering in rice domestication. The substitution undermined the gene function necessary for the normal development of an abscission layer that controls the separation of a grain from the pedicel.

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