Most agriculturally important traits are regulated by genes known as quantitative trait loci (QTLs) derived from natural allelic variations. We here show that a QTL that increases grain productivity in rice, Gn1a, is a gene for cytokinin oxidase/ dehydrogenase (OsCKX2), an enzyme that degrades the phytohormone cytokinin. Reduced expression of OsCKX2 causes cytokinin accumulation in inflorescence meristems and increases the number of reproductive organs, resulting in enhanced grain yield. QTL pyramiding to combine loci for grain number and plant height in the same genetic background generated lines exhibiting both beneficial traits. These results provide a strategy for tailormade crop improvement.
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