Leaf size is a major determinant of plant architecture and yield potential
in crops. However, the mechanisms regulating leaf size remain unknown. The
team of Xinxin Tang from the National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic
Improvement in China studied quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for flag leaf
length and flag leaf width in rice.
Fourteen QTLs for flag leaf length and nine QTLs for flag leaf width were
identified. Among them was a major QTL for both flag leaf width and length,
Ghd7.1. The team confirmed this via mutants of Ghd7.1 generated using
CRISPR-Cas9 which exhibited reduced leaf size. Further analyses also
validated Ghd7.1 as a functional candidate gene for leaf size,
photosynthetic capacity and other yield-related traits.
These results provide useful genetic information for the improvement of leaf
size and yield in rice breeding programs.