rice; heterosis; three-way test cross; fertility restoration genetics.
We studied the genetics of fertility restoration by producing three-way test cross (TWTC) hybrids involved different combinations of restorers, maintainers and partial restorers of rice. Pollen and spikelet fertility of 16 TWTC hybrids were studied. Six TWTC involving restorer/restorer combinations as male parents produced progenies with fertility levels ranging from complete to zero. No specific ratio of segregation was observed. The crosses involving maintainer/maintainer combinations as male parents showed fully fertile and partial fertile/sterile plants in their progenies. These could be due to nonallelic gene interactions for fertility restoration between the two restorer or maintainer parents, or due to the influence of some modifying genes in the nuclear genome. TWTC involving partial restorer / restorer and partial restorer/partial restorer as the male parents also produced fully fertile and partial fertile/sterile plants suggesting the complex genetics of fertility restoration in rice. There were no previous results depicting the complementation effects of maintainers for fertility restoration.