China is rich of germplasm resources of common wild rice (Oryza rufipogon Griff.) and Asian cultivated rice (O. sativa L.) which consists of two subspecies, indica and japonica. Previous studies have shown that China is one of the domestication centers of O. sativa. However, the geographic origin and the domestication times of O. sativa in China are still under debate. To settle these disputes, six chloroplast loci and four mitochondrial loci were selected to examine the relationships between 50 accessions of Asian cultivated rice and 119 accessions of common wild rice from China based on DNA sequence analysis in the present study. The results indicated that Southern China is the genetic diversity center of O. rufipogon and it might be the primary domestication region of O. sativa. Molecular dating suggested that the two subspecies had diverged 0.1 million years ago, much earlier than the beginning of rice domestication. Genetic differentiations and phylogeography analyses indicated that indica was domesticated from tropical O. rufipogon while japonica was domesticated from O. rufipogon which located in higher latitude. These results provided molecular evidences for the hypotheses of (i) Southern China is the origin center of O. sativa in China and (ii) the two subspecies of O. sativa were domesticated multiple times.
Via Dorian Q Fuller