Validation and dissection of a QTL region for leaf traits in rice which has been reported in a number of independent studies were conducted. Three sets of near isogenic lines (NILs) were originated from a residual heterozygous line derived the indica cross Zhenshan 97B/Milyang 46. They were overlapping and totally covered a 4.2-Mb heterogenous region extending from RM4923 to RM402 on the short arm of rice chromosome 6. Each NIL set consisted of 10 maternal lines and 10 paternal lines. They were measured for the length, width, perimeter and area of the top three leaves and the number of spikelets per panicle, number of grains per panicle and grain weight per panicle. In NIL sets 6-4 and 6-7, differing in intervals RM4923-RM225 and RM19410-RM6119, respectively, significant variations with the enhancing alleles from the female parent ZS97 were shown for the length, perimeter and area except for the area of the third leaf from top in 6-4, but the effects were lower in 6-4 than in 6-7. No significant effects were detected for the three traits in the remaining NIL set. It was shown that flag leaf length (FLL) is the primary target of the QTLs detected. Two QTLs for FLL linked in repulsion phase were resolved, of which qFLL6.2 located in the 1.19-Mb interval RM3414-RM6917 had a major effect with the enhancing allele from Zhenshan 97B, and qFLL6.1 located in the 946.8-kb interval RM19350-RM19410 had a smaller effect with the enhancing allele from Milyang 46. The two QTLs also exerted pleiotropic effects on the yield traits.
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