The genetic architecture of maize flowering time

Edward S Buckler, James B Holland, Peter J Bradbury, Charlotte B Acharya, Patrick J Brown, Chris Browne, Elhan Ersoz, Sherry Flint-Garcia, Arturo Garcia, Jeffrey C Glaubitz, Major M Goodman, Carlos Harjes, Kate Guill, Dallas E Kroon, Sara Larsson, Nicholas K Lepak, Huihui Li, Sharon E Mitchell, Gael Pressoir, Jason A Peiffer, Marco Oropeza Rosas, Torbert R Rocheford, M Cinta Romay, Susan Romero, Stella Salvo, Hector Sanchez Villeda, H Sofia da Silva, Qi Sun, Feng Tian, Narasimham Upadyayula, Doreen Ware, Heather Yates, Jianming Yu, Zhiwu Zhang, Stephen Kresovich, Michael D McMullen
Science 2009 August 7, 325 (5941): 714-8
Flowering time is a complex trait that controls adaptation of plants to their local environment in the outcrossing species Zea mays (maize). We dissected variation for flowering time with a set of 5000 recombinant inbred lines (maize Nested Association Mapping population, NAM). Nearly a million plants were assayed in eight environments but showed no evidence for any single large-effect quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Instead, we identified evidence for numerous small-effect QTLs shared among families; however, allelic effects differ across founder lines. We identified no individual QTLs at which allelic effects are determined by geographic origin or large effects for epistasis or environmental interactions. Thus, a simple additive model accurately predicts flowering time for maize, in contrast to the genetic architecture observed in the selfing plant species rice and Arabidopsis.

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