Grain yield in rice is a complex trait multiplicatively determined by its three component traits: number of panicles, number of grains per panicle, and grain weight; all of which are typical quantitative traits. The developments in genome mapping, sequencing, and functional genomic research have provided powerful tools for investigating the genetic and molecular bases of these quantitative traits. Dissection of the genetic bases of the yield traits based on molecular marker linkage maps resolved hundreds of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for these traits. Mutant analyses and map-based cloning of QTLs have identified a large number of genes required for the basic processes underlying the initiation and development of tillers and panicles, as well as genes controlling numbers and sizes of grains and panicles. Molecular characterization of these genes has greatly advanced the mechanistic understanding of the regulation of these rice yield traits. These findings have significant implications in crop genetic improvement.