Resequencing of 672 native rice accessions to explore genetic diversity and trait associations along Vietnam
BACKGROUND: Vietnam possesses a vast diversity of rice landraces due to its geographical situation, latitudinal range, and a variety of ecosystems. This genetic diversity constitutes a highly valuable resource at a time when the highest rice production areas in the low-lying Mekong and Red River Deltas are enduring increasing threats from climate changes, particularly in rainfall and temperature patterns. RESULTS: We analysed 672 Vietnamese rice genomes, 616 newly sequenced, that encompass the
... that encompass the range of rice varieties grown in the diverse ecosystems found throughout Vietnam. We described four Japonica and five Indica subpopulations within Vietnam likely adapted to the region of origin. We compared the population structure and genetic diversity of these Vietnamese rice genomes to the 3,000 genomes of Asian cultivated rice. The named Indica-5 (I5) subpopulation was expanded in Vietnam and contained lowland Indica accessions, which had with very low shared ancestry with accessions from any other subpopulation and were previously overlooked as admixtures. We scored phenotypic measurements for nineteen traits and identified 453 unique genotype-phenotype significant associations comprising twenty-one QTLs (quantitative trait loci). The strongest associations were observed for grain size traits, while weaker associations were observed for a range of characteristics, including panicle length, heading date and leaf width. CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight differences in genome composition and trait associations among traditional Vietnamese rice accessions, which are likely the product of adaption to multiple environmental conditions and regional preferences in a very diverse country. Our results highlighted traits and their associated genomic regions that are a potential source of novel loci and alleles to breed a new generation of sustainable and resilient rice.