Identification of QTLs for root characteristics in maize grown in hydroponics and analysis of their overlap with QTLs for grain yield in the field at two water regimes

Roberto Tuberosa, Maria Corinna Sanguineti, Pierangelo Landi, Marcella Michela Giuliani, Silvio Salvi, Sergio Conti
Plant Molecular Biology 2002, 48 (5-6): 697-712
We investigated the overlap among quantitative trait loci (QTLs) in maize for seminal root traits measured in hydroponics with QTLs for grain yield under well-watered (GY-WW) and water-stressed (GY-WS) field conditions as well as for a drought tolerance index (DTI) computed as GY-WS/GY-WW. In hydroponics, 11, 7, 9, and 10 QTLs were identified for primary root length (R1L), primary root diameter (R1D), primary root weight (R1W), and for the weight of the adventitious seminal roots (R2W), respectively. In the field, 7, 8, and 9 QTLs were identified for GY-WW, GY-WS, and DTI, respectively. Despite the weak correlation of root traits in hydroponics with GY-WW, GY-WS, and DTI, a noticeable overlap between the corresponding QTLs was observed. QTLs for R2W most frequently and consistently overlapped with QTLs for GY-WW, GY-WS, and/or DTI. At four QTL regions, an increase in R2W was positively associated with GY-WW, GY-WS, and/or DTI. A 10 cM interval on chromosome 1 between PGAMCTA205 and php20644 showed the strongest effect on R1L, R1D, R2W, GY-WW, GY-WS, and DTI. These results indicate the feasibility of using hydroponics in maize to identify QTL regions controlling root traits at an early growth stage and also influencing GY in the field. A comparative analysis of the QTL regions herein identified with those described in previous studies investigating root traits in different maize populations revealed a number of QTLs in common.

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