Soluble starch synthase II (SSII) plays an important role in the biosynthesis of starch and in rice it consists of three isoforms encoded by SSII-1, SSII-2 and SSII-3. However, the genetic effects of various SSII alleles on grain quality have not been systematically characterized. In the present study, the japonica alleles on SSII-1, SSII-2 and SSII-3 (SSIIa) loci from a japonica cultivar, Suyunuo, were respectively introgressed by molecular marker-assisted selection into a typical indica cultivar, Guichao2, through successive backcrossing, generating three sets of near-isogenic lines (NILs). Grain quality and starch property analysis showed that NIL-SSII-3j
exhibited significant decreases in the following parameters: amylose content, average granule size, and setback viscosity and consistency; but increases in peak viscosity, hot paste viscosity, gelatinization temperature and relative crystallinity. Moreover, the proportion of short amylopectin chains and branching degree also increased when compared with those of NIL-SSII-3i
(Guochao2). Similar effects were observed in NIL-SSII-1j
, and certain alterations in the fine structure of starch (granule size) were revealed. However, NIL-SSII-2j
did not exert significant effect on grain quality and starch properties. In brief, among the SSII gene family, the functional diversity occurred on SSII-1 and SSII-3, and not on SSII-2. Therefore, it appears that more attention should be directed to SSII-1 and SSII-3 loci for improving the eating and cooking quality of rice.