Diverse genetic mechanisms underlie worldwide convergent rice feralization

Jie Qiu, Lei Jia, Dongya Wu, Xifang Weng, Lijuan Chen, Jian Sun, Meihong Chen, Lingfeng Mao, Bowen Jiang, Chuyu Ye, Guilherme Menegol Turra, Longbiao Guo, Guoyou Ye, Qian Hao Zhu, Toshiyuki Imaizumi, Beng Kah Song, Laura Scarabel, Aldo Merotto, Kenneth M. Olsen, Longjiang Fan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Worldwide feralization of crop species into agricultural weeds threatens global food security. Weedy rice is a feral form of rice that infests paddies worldwide and aggressively outcompetes cultivated varieties. Despite increasing attention in recent years, a comprehensive understanding of the origins of weedy crop relatives and how a universal feralization process acts at the genomic and molecular level to allow the rapid adaptation to weediness are still yet to be explored. Results: We use whole-genome sequencing to examine the origin and adaptation of 524 global weedy rice samples representing all major regions of rice cultivation. Weed populations have evolved multiple times from cultivated rice, and a strikingly high proportion of contemporary Asian weed strains can be traced to a few Green Revolution cultivars that were widely grown in the late twentieth century. Latin American weedy rice stands out in having originated through extensive hybridization. Selection scans indicate that most genomic regions underlying weedy adaptations do not overlap with domestication targets of selection, suggesting that feralization occurs largely through changes at loci unrelated to domestication. Conclusions: This is the first investigation to provide detailed genomic characterizations of weedy rice on a global scale, and the results reveal diverse genetic mechanisms underlying worldwide convergent rice feralization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number70
    Number of pages11
    JournalGenome Biology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2020


    • Crop feralization
    • De-domestication block
    • Global population
    • Oryza sativa
    • Parallel evolution
    • Weedy rice

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