Because of the tremendous advances in functional genomics and the current availability of a large number of superior hybrids, rice is an excellent model crop system for heterosis research. Genetic dissection of yield and yield component traits of an elite rice hybrid using an ultra-high density linkage map identified overdominance as the principal genetic basis of heterosis in this hybrid. This is not an expected finding based on the reported effects of single genes. Here we propose a gene expression and protein quality control hypothesis as one possible explanation for the overdominance in hybrids bred for yield. Future studies will be directed toward the identification of the genetic and biochemical mechanisms underlying the biology of hybrid vigor.
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