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Origins and population genetics of weedy red rice in the USA


Jason P. Londo, US-EPA 200 NW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333, USA. Fax: 541-754-4799; E-mail:


Weedy red rice (Oryza sativa spontonea) is a persistent and problematic weed of rice culture worldwide. A major hypothesis for the mechanism of production of this weed in South and Southeast Asia is hybridization between cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) and wild rice (Oryza rufipogon). However, weedy red rice can often be found outside the range of O. rufipogon leaving questions on the origin and process behind weedy rice infestations. In the USA, weedy red rice was first documented as early as 1846 and has continued to affect rice production areas. In this study, we attempt to identify the origin and population structure of weedy red rice sampled from the USA using both DNA sequence data from a neutral nuclear locus as well as microsatellite genotype data. Results suggest that two major accessions of weedy rice exist, strawhull and blackhull, and these forms may both hybridize with the cultivated rice of the USA, O. sativa japonica. Using population assignment of multilocus genotype signatures with principal component analysis and structure, an Asian origin is supported for US weedy rice. Additionally, hybridization between strawhull and blackhull varieties was inferred and may present the opportunity for the production of new weedy forms in the future.