Genomes carry millions of noncoding variants, and identifying the tiny fraction with functional consequences is a major challenge for genomics. We assessed the role of selection on long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) for domestication-related changes in rice grains. Among 3363 lncRNA transcripts identified in early developing panicles, 95% of those with differential expression (329 lncRNAs) between Oryza sativa ssp. japonica and wild rice were significantly down-regulated in the domestication event. Joint genome and transcriptome analyses reveal that directional selection on lncRNAs altered the expression of energy metabolism genes during domestication. Transgenic experiments and population analyses with three focal lncRNAs illustrate that selection on these loci led to increased starch content and grain weight. Together, our findings indicate that genome-wide selection for lncRNA down-regulation was an important mechanism for the emergence of rice domestication traits.
|State||Published - Dec 18 2019|