Qifa Zhang

Huazhong Agricultural University

Election Year: 2007
Primary Section: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

As a plant geneticist, my research interests have been in genetics and biotechnology of rice. My group has characterized the genetic components controlling heterosis in an elite rice hybrid. Using an "immortalized F2 population" that I designed, we identified heterotic QTL and found coexistence of dominance, overdominance and prevalent epistasis in the system, and demonstrated that heterotic effects at the single-locus level in combination with the advantageous effects of double heterozygotes could explain the genetic basis of heterosis in this hybrid. My group has also systematically conducted functional characterization of the rice genome, and identified over 100 rice genes (QTLs) by molecular mapping and T-DNA insertion mutant library screening. More than 10 agronomically important genes have been molecularly cloned and characterized, including GS3 the first gene identified for grain size (a trait for both grain yield and quality), and xa13 a recessively inherited disease resistant gene. My group has also made large efforts in rice genetic improvement by integrating germplasms, molecular marker assisted selection and transgenics in rice breeding, and developed lines with improved disease resistance, insect resistance and grain quality, some of which have been used in rice production in China.

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