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A selfish genetic element confers non-Mendelian inheritance in rice

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Science  08 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6393, pp. 1130-1132
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4279

Sterility in rice via toxin and antidote

Crossing wild and domestic rice often results in hybrid sterility. Such genetic barriers can prevent the movement of potentially beneficial genes from wild rice into domestic varieties. To understand the barriers preventing gene flow, Yu et al. mapped a quantitative trait locus (QTL) that determines sterility between wild-type and domestic rice. This QTL encodes two open reading frames (ORFs) that are both expressed during gametogenesis. The ORFs encode a toxin, which affects the development of pollen, and an antidote, which is required for pollen viability. Thus, selfish genetic elements can underlie evolutionary strategies that facilitate reproductive isolation.

Science, this issue p. 1130