QTL consistency and meta-analysis for grain yield components in three generations in maize

J Z Li, Z W Zhang, Y L Li, Q L Wang, Y G Zhou
TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik 2011, 122 (4): 771-82
Grain yield is the most important and complex trait in maize. In this study, a total of 258 F(9) recombinant inbred lines (RIL), derived from a cross between dent corn inbred Dan232 and popcorn inbred N04, were evaluated for eight grain yield components under four environments. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) and their epistatic interactions were detected for all traits under each environment and in combined analysis. Meta-analysis was used to integrate genetic maps and detected QTL across three generations (RIL, F(2:3) and BC(2)F(2)) derived from the same cross. In total, 103 QTL, 42 pairs of epistatic interactions and 16 meta-QTL (mQTL) were detected. Twelve out of 13 QTL with contributions (R(2)) over 15% were consistently detected in 3-4 environments (or in combined analysis) and integrated in mQTL. Only q100GW-7-1 was detected in all four environments and in combined analysis. 100qGW-1-1 had the largest R(2) (19.3-24.6%) in three environments and in combined analysis. In contrast, 35 QTL for 6 grain yield components were detected in the BC(2)F(2) and F(2:3) generations, no common QTL across three generations were located in the same marker intervals. Only 100 grain weight (100GW) QTL on chromosome 5 were located in adjacent marker intervals. Four common QTL were detected across the RIL and F(2:3) generations, and two between the RIL and BC(2)F(2) generations. Each of five important mQTL (mQTL7-1, mQTL10-2, mQTL4-1, mQTL5-1 and mQTL1-3) included 7-12 QTL associated with 2-6 traits. In conclusion, we found evidence of strong influence of genetic structure and environment on QTL detection, high consistency of major QTL across environments and generations, and remarkable QTL co-location for grain yield components. Fine mapping for five major QTL (q100GW-1-1, q100GW-7-1, qGWP-4-1, qERN-4-1 and qKR-4-1) and construction of single chromosome segment lines for genetic regions of five mQTL merit further studies and could be put into use in marker-assisted breeding.

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