TOND1 confers tolerance to nitrogen deficiency in rice
Nitrogen (N), the most important mineral nutrient for plants, is critical to agricultural production systems. N deficiency severely affects rice growth and decreases rice yields. However, excessive use of N fertilizer has caused severe pollution to agricultural and ecological environments. The necessity of breeding of crops that require lower input of N fertilizer has been recognized. Here we identified a major quantitative trait locus on chromosome 12, Tolerance Of Nitrogen Deficiency 1 (TOND1), that confers tolerance to N deficiency in the indica cultivar Teqing. Sequence verification of 75 indica and 75 japonica cultivars from 18 countries and regions demonstrated that only 27.3% of cultivars (41 indica cultivars) contain TOND1, whereas 72.7% of cultivars, including the remaining 34 indica cultivars and all 75 japonica cultivars, do not harbor the TOND1 allele. Over‐expression of TOND1 increased the tolerance to N deficiency in the TOND1‐deficient rice cultivars. The identification of TOND1 provides a molecular basis for breeding rice varieties with improved grain yield despite decreased input of N fertilizers.
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