Fine mapping and haplotype structure analysis of a major flowering time quantitative trait locus on maize chromosome 10

Sébastien Ducrocq, Catherine Giauffret, Delphine Madur, Valérie Combes, Fabrice Dumas, Sophie Jouanne, Denis Coubriche, Philippe Jamin, Laurence Moreau, Alain Charcosset
Genetics 2009, 183 (4): 1555-63
Flowering time is a major adaptive trait in plants and an important selection criterion for crop species. In maize, however, little is known about its molecular basis. In this study, we report the fine mapping and characterization of a major quantitative trait locus located on maize chromosome 10, which regulates flowering time through photoperiod sensitivity. This study was performed in near-isogenic material derived from a cross between the day-neutral European flint inbred line FV286 and the tropical short-day inbred line FV331. Recombinant individuals were identified among a large segregating population and their progenies were scored for flowering time. Combined genotypic characterization led to delimit the QTL to an interval of 170 kb and highlighted an unbalanced recombination pattern. Two bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) covering the region were analyzed to identify putative candidate genes, and synteny with rice, sorghum, and brachypodium was investigated. A gene encoding a CCT domain protein homologous to the rice Ghd7 heading date regulator was identified, but its causative role was not demonstrated and deserves further analyses. Finally, an association study showed a strong level of linkage disequilibrium over the region and highlighted haplotypes that could provide useful information for the exploitation of genetic resources and marker-assisted selection in maize.

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