Combining high-throughput micro-CT-RGB phenotyping and genome-wide association study to dissect the genetic architecture of tiller growth in rice

Authors Organisations
  • Di Wu(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Zilong Guo(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Junli Ye(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Hui Feng(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Jianxiao Liu(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Guoxing Chen(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Jingshan Zheng(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Dongmei Yan(Author)
    Huazhong University of Science and Technology
  • Xiaoquan Yang(Author)
    Huazhong University of Science and Technology
  • Xiong Xiong(Author)
    Huazhong University of Science and Technology
  • Qian Liu(Author)
    Huazhong University of Science and Technology
  • Zhiyou Niu(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Alan Gay(Author)
  • John Doonan(Author)
  • Lizhong Xiong(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
  • Wanneng Yang(Author)
    Huazhong Agricultural University
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-561
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number2
Early online date30 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 07 Jan 2019
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Manual phenotyping of rice tillers is time consuming and labor intensive, and lags behind the rapid development of rice functional genomics. Thus, automated, non-destructive methods of phenotyping rice tiller traits at a high spatial resolution and high throughput for large-scale assessment of rice accessions are urgently needed. In this study, we developed a high-throughput micro-CT-RGB imaging system to non-destructively extract 739 traits from 234 rice accessions at nine time points. We could explain 30% of the grain yield variance from two tiller traits assessed in the early growth stages. A total of 402 significantly associated loci were identified by genome-wide association study, and dynamic and static genetic components were found across the nine time points. A major locus associated with tiller angle was detected at time point 9, which contained a major gene, TAC1. Significant variants associated with tiller angle were enriched in the 3ʹ-untranslated region of TAC1. Three haplotypes for the gene were found, and rice accessions containing haplotype H3 displayed much smaller tiller angles. Further, we found two loci containing associations with both vigor-related traits identified by high-throughput micro-CT-RGB imaging and yield. The superior alleles would be beneficial for breeding for high yield and dense planting


  • dyamic phenotyping, GWAS, high throughput, longitudinal traits, micro-CT-RGB, plant phenomics, rice tiller, tiller traits