Genetic architecture of maize kernel composition in the nested association mapping and inbred association panels

Jason P Cook, Michael D McMullen, James B Holland, Feng Tian, Peter Bradbury, Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, Edward S Buckler, Sherry A Flint-Garcia
Plant Physiology 2012, 158 (2): 824-34
The maize (Zea mays) kernel plays a critical role in feeding humans and livestock around the world and in a wide array of industrial applications. An understanding of the regulation of kernel starch, protein, and oil is needed in order to manipulate composition to meet future needs. We conducted joint-linkage quantitative trait locus mapping and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for kernel starch, protein, and oil in the maize nested association mapping population, composed of 25 recombinant inbred line families derived from diverse inbred lines. Joint-linkage mapping revealed that the genetic architecture of kernel composition traits is controlled by 21-26 quantitative trait loci. Numerous GWAS associations were detected, including several oil and starch associations in acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase1-2, a gene that regulates oil composition and quantity. Results from nested association mapping were verified in a 282 inbred association panel using both GWAS and candidate gene association approaches. We identified many beneficial alleles that will be useful for improving kernel starch, protein, and oil content.

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